As part of our ongoing commitment to inform and educate the business community, the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce compiled the following questions and posed them to candidates seeking a state legislative office in the 2016 election. Candidates were asked to complete the questions and return their answers to to the Chamber.
Thank you to all the candidates who participated.
Alan Morrison – House of Representatives, District 42
Family Information: Wife – Cinda, Kids: Katelyn (11) Derek (9)
Occupation: Sales Consultant for General Alarm
Education: Undergraduate: Sports Management, Slippery Rock University, Graduate degree: Sports Management, Indiana State University
Civic Involvement: Former United Way board member, United Way volunteer Real Men Read, Relay for Life, Rockville Correctional Facility Community Advisory Board, Stamp out Hunger Food Drive volunteer, and many other community events and volunteer activities.
Facebook: Elect Alan Morrison
How do you plan to keep in touch with your constituents?
I keep in touch with constituents in many ways; in-person meetings, phone calls, email, and letters. I solicit feedback via online surveys, mailed surveys, an electronic newsletter, and of course just being out and about in the community. Constituent services is my favorite part of representing my neighbors in the Statehouse.
Please describe how you will work with universities and colleges, as well as secondary schools, to promote workforce development efforts across the state.
I have worked hand-in-hand with our institutions of higher learning and secondary schools to increase our workforce development efforts. Concerning secondary schools, I have supported our increased funding for CTE programs. It is very important to recognize that there are many careers that do not require a four year degree, but can most certainly provide a good paying salary and benefits. By introducing these fields to high school students and getting them excited about those possibilities we will see an increase in young men and women taking advantage of those career paths. While properly funding these programs is important, it is also important to give the programs the flexibility to offer trades and skills that are relevant to industry and jobs within the region of the state they reside. As for our institutions of higher education, I will use our own Indiana State University as an example. The construction of a new College of Health and Human Services is under way. This new state-of-the-art building will be the home to many important disciplines and majors. In this building will walk our future nurses, counselors, therapists, trainers, and many other future professionals. Many of these young men and women will choose to live and work right here in the Wabash Valley and become an integral part of our community. This $64 million building was the single largest higher education project approved during the budget session in 2015. Along with my other Vigo County republican colleagues in the House and Senate, we worked hard to get the support for this project and to have it added to the biennial budget, and then obviously voted for it.
What issues do you foresee will have an impact on businesses in 2017?
Infrastructure funding will be a large focus for us this upcoming session, and how we construct the long term funding for our roads and bridges will most certainly have a major impact on business for decades to come. We are approaching a time when we will be approximately $500 million short throughout the state on an annual basis for road maintenance. This does not include any new projects, just maintenance. So the question is how do we approach this in a responsible manner, continue to be good stewards of Hoosier tax dollars, and fund it appropriately so that in years to come we don’t put ourselves in a position that is impossible to get out of. The House Republicans moved a plan last year that would accomplish these goals and I believe we will roll out a similar plan this upcoming session. We must finish the projects we’ve started and maintain what we have. There are some tough conversations to be had on funding sources. As miles driven goes down and miles per gallon go up, cost of maintenance goes up, and the growing popularity of electric cars goes up, we find ourselves with the perfect storm of funding trouble. So, we will have to come up with a way to provide more dollars for maintenance with a shrinking revenue stream. We certainly do not want business or individuals to be unfairly impacted by any conclusions we come to, so needless to say, I will be all ears concerning what the final bill version needs to look like.
As counties and other municipalities face tighter budgets, what, if any, additional revenues can they expect in 2017 to help offset expenses?
I am not aware of any new taxes for 2017 that are designed for municipalities to offset expenses.