Lisa Roush Morse is running to represent Ward III on the Lake Lotawana Board of Aldermen.
She is married to Shawn and has three children. Morse has lived at Lake Lotawana for 17 years.
Her memberships include Nonprofit Connect; Jackson County Committee for County Progress; Midwest Animal ResQ (originally located in Lotawana), founding, former Board member; Mid-America Planned Giving Council, former Board member; Elders Volunteer for Elders Project, co-founder.
Of her involvement Morse says "One of the best things about my job? We’re encouraged to volunteer and provide pro bono work for groups we support. From my sister-in-law’s animal rescue to my father’s Korean War veterans group, from a summer program for inner-city kids to an innovative program for an assisted living facility: I’ve spent weekends, evenings, and holidays helping organizations in need. And I love it!"
She received a Bachelor of Arts from William Jewell College, History and Communication majors and Mortar Board Honors Society.
Morse joined Pelofsky & Associates, Inc., a fundraising consulting firm for non-profits and public agencies, ten years ago and currently serves as Vice-President
1 If elected, what will be your top priority? My first question as a candidate was what is Ward 3’s priority? According to those I’ve talked to, the sewer system, break-ins/theft, and keeping the City out of trouble and in good financial shape (those go hand-in-hand) are top priorities. I would add the development of a long-term city plan (under discussion) to our list of priorities. I have no personal agenda. I want to listen and be the voice of Ward 3.
2 How will you communicate with your Ward? In addition to mailing quarterly newsletters, I’ve spoken to editors of the Lotawana News and the Tribune and will utilize those papers. Gathering neighbors’ emails and phone numbers provides for immediate communication: if an "interesting" item is on the agenda, I will reach out. I have made a point of publicizing my phone number, email address, and Suggestion Box by our driveway. If elected, I hope Ward 3 will use them early and often!
3 What do you feel your obligations are as an Alderman? I think Alderman obligations are simple: represent the people served and act in their best interest. An Alderman is obligated to ensure our City remains a healthy (financially and otherwise) place to live, for everyone – those active in various groups and clubs or not active but interested. You can’t speak for a group unless you’ve listened to them. I am accessible to all of Ward 3.
4 How will you ensure transparency and end the corruption Lotawana is infamous for? Let’s operate above and beyond the Sunshine Law. Informing residents goes a long way toward transparency. I applaud the meeting with our independent auditor; budget questions were answered. Even a whiff of a suggestion of corruption damages our reputation as a great place to live. Do some neighbors feel alienated? You bet: let’s address it, find a remedy, then make sure it doesn’t happen again. Ward 3 is my only "network", you’re my only agenda.
5 As an Alderman are you willing to lessen your power and give such broad powers to a city administrator? The Mayor and Aldermen represent the City’s decision-making body. We shouldn’t shirk those responsibilities by ceding broad powers to hired staff. We are fortunate to have a smart, experienced City Administrator but the ultimate authority lies with the Mayor and Board. It’s similar to legal counsel: advise and help us stay out of trouble but don’t let the attorney vote – that’s up to elected officials who represent the people.
6 Do you feel the City Administrator should have the power to spend tax payer’s money without the board approval? I don’t believe Lotawana residents elect Aldermen to micro-manage a hired Administrator or other City staff. Nor did they approve autonomous spending privileges for a non-elected position. Let’s develop a scope of work for this position and future staff that is reasonable and conducive to a well-run City without endorsing a "blank check" system for any staff. Help me understand, Ward 3, this should be an easy fix: clearly defined roles and responsibilities, yes?
7 Is a Mill Levy in our near future? A Mill Levy will always be a tempting source of potential revenue and some elected officials will turn to that option first in times of fiscal crisis. With a financially solid city and a reasonable budget, this need not be on our radar. We can avoid the kind of calamity that would force us to entertain the Mill Levy option by careful budgeting, which we’ve done, and strategic planning, which is coming.
8 What is your opinion on legalizing state wide marijuana and medical marijuana? My father remembers the pain of colon cancer. Healthy now, active in his church and a former deacon, he wouldn’t deny access to medicinal marijuana to those suffering despite his own personal beliefs. Wisest man I know, I agree with him. A hotly debated topic, our City officials will not need to grapple with this issue. Thank goodness! We have enough on our plate.
9 What is your personal moral code and how does it drive your political agenda? I have a simple code: "play nice and share." Playing nice with colleagues, our Mayor, staff, and the Association will take us farther than a polarizing, oppositional approach. Disagree respectfully, find common ground when you can, and win or lose a vote graciously. "Sharing" my expertise in communications and budgeting, and sharing the views of Ward 3, will result in a keener understanding of where we’ve gone off track and where we want to go.