George Morrison is a first-time legislative candidate who hopes to make a difference – a positive difference – if he wins election to the Idaho House of Representatives.
Morrison, a 73-year-old Democrat, is seeking election to Seat B in House District 33. The seat is currently held by 77-year-old Republican Linden Bateman, who has decided not to seek re-election
“I’m an old guy with a young mind,” Morrison said in a recent interview. “A lot of people like my ideas. I want to get involved to do things to help the community.”
Those ideas include:
- Ensuring fair taxation by ending tax breaks for special groups, namely, the top 2%
- Closing the Medicaid gap
- Spending more money on the state’s educational system
“I do not have to take a pledge, like the other party, to support any platform or agenda. I like our State Constitution that requires a balanced budget,” Morrison said. “I will listen to the electorate and give an opinion – and we can decide together the direction we want.
“I’d like to see more variety, critical thinking, and openness in the Legislature. I know that government can be more effective without being bigger; or even as big as our state government is currently. I will be accountable to the people of this district.”
Love for Practical Politics for the People
If Morrison’s name sounds familiar, it should. His political opinions frequently find their way onto the editorial pages of the Post Register, where he has served as a community columnist.
“I’m a political animal,” Morrison said. “I live, breathe, and eat this stuff.”
But he wasn’t always a Democrat.
“I spent the first half of my life as a Republican; then many (years) as an Independent, Morrison said. “The Republicans moved way to the right on many issues and I stayed in place. You get wiser when you get older. My views today are more in line with the Democrats and I am pleased to run as one.”
Morrison, an Idaho National Laboratory retiree, first came to the site in 1989-90. He spent some 40 years in project scheduling, cost analysis, and budgeting in the aerospace and construction industries. His work included a number of Department of Energy projects.
Morrison holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science (1970) from Long Beach State University in California. He and his wife, Jackie Morrison, have been married 21 years.
For the past five years, Morrison has served as a member of the Idaho Falls Planning and Zoning Commission. In addition, he’s a member of the Mayor’s Citizen Review Committee in Idaho Falls that is studying the city’s legal department. He’s also a member of the City Club.
In his resume, Morrison describes himself as a former “substitute teacher, tax consultant, marriage counselor, and wedding officiate,” as well as a “good neighbor.”
“I have lived and worked in Idaho, Utah, California, Nevada, Washington, Texas, Mississippi and Minnesota,” he said. “I live in Idaho by choice.”
Ready to Change the Balance in Boise
Despite his experience and name recognition, Morrison knows that as a Democrat, he faces an uphill battle in the race for Seat B in District 33.
But he remains optimistic and ready to meet that challenge.
“I’m quite pleased and surprised at the positive feedback I’m getting on my candidacy,” he said.
Republican domination in the Idaho Legislature has diminished the effectiveness of state government, Morrison said, and its ability to meet the needs and concerns of everyday Idahoans.
“When no one challenges one-party rule, there is no accountability,” he said. “They can do whatever they want. It’s scary.
“It is time to put our state government on the spot. A lot of people are angry with government; and legislatures that just don’t get it. I say, perform or go home. Silence is acquiescence.”
Both the quality and quantity of bills coming out of the Idaho Legislature are an embarrassment, Morrison said.
Although GOP legislators profess to hate big government, Morrison said they routinely back bills that place restrictions on local government.
Those same legislators also propose making the Bible a school textbook while they “totally ignore science,” Morrison said. “And (Republicans) in the U.S. Congress are just as bad.”
Here in Idaho and across the nation, Morrison continued, “It is time to stop tax breaks for small groups and special interests.”
“The (Idaho Republican) leadership smothers bills they don’t like so they never see the light of day. I would like to see all bills out for an up or down vote. This is not a problem unless one doesn’t want people to know where they stand. It is time to stop passing self-serving bills and help all the people of Idaho.”
The only way to accomplish that, Morrison said, is to “change the balance in the House” – one election at time, starting with Seat B in District 33.
New voices and a fresh approach in Boise are needed to bring about change.
“We don’t need more taxes,” he said. “We need to spend what we’ve got on things that will make a difference in people’s lives.”
Morrison puts education and health care at the top of the list.
In a recent column published in the Post Register, Morrison contemplated the so-called “Take Back America” movement.
Apathy is at the heart of the nation’s problems, Morrison wrote, saying too many people just don’t care enough to get involved in government.
“Let us look at some facts. We have near 350 million people in this country; about, let’s say, 175 million of voting age. Barely more than half of those people are registered voters. So now, the number of real voters is near 100 million.”
“In most of the elections across the nation less than half of those people vote. Now the number is near 50 million. These numbers represent about 15 to 25 percent of the population who are making the decisions. So who do we blame for problems, the system or the people?”
“It is the people. In the final analysis, the people get the kind of government they deserve, either by their action or by their inaction.”
It is incumbent upon those who are dissatisfied with government to change it, Morrison wrote.
“Our nation will not fall by terrorists, foreign dictators or invasion. We will fall from apathy. We will fall because we reach the point where no one gives a damn about anything, but themselves.”
“We will fall because too many people and corporations are exempted from the rules of the majority. We will fall because too many people want someone else to take action. Instead of chanting, ‘Take America Back,’ they should be saying, ‘I can change America by participating.’”
Candidate Contact Information
Here’s how to contact George Morrison about is campaign for Seat B, House District 33
Cellphone: (208) 520-3511
Michael Mooney is a longtime journalist with 40 years of experience as a newspaper editor, reporter, and columnist. Mooney recently retired from the Idaho Falls-based Post Register, where he had served as the newspaper’s Assistant City Editor/Night Editor since September 2010. He previously worked for The Modesto Bee and Eureka Times-Standard, both California-based newspapers, as well as The Quad-City Times, based in Davenport, Iowa, and the Fort Dodge Messenger, another Iowa-based newspaper.
He attended Western Illinois University, and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communications from Sangamon State University. The Springfield, Ill., campus today is part of the University of Illinois system.
Mooney was born in Chicago, Ill., and grew up on the city’s storied South Side. He cut his political teeth as a high school student volunteer for the insurgent 1968 presidential campaign of Sen. Eugene McCarthy.
At last month’s Bonneville County Democratic Caucus, he won election as a delegate pledged to Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Mooney, his wife, Margaret Squires, and their three very pampered cats make their home in Idaho Falls.