After a near death experience, Tarra Morgan, director of Olympia Academy in Roswell, realized she wanted to make a difference and Morgan has chosen to run for City Councilor for Ward 3, which is west of Roswell between West Second Street and Country Club Road.
“I’ve always wanted to run for a position or an office,” Morgan said. “I had an epiphany in October when my colleagues and I were in Las Vegas when the mass shooting occurred. We weren’t at the concert, but we were staying across the street at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino. When word got to us there was a mass shooter — that’s all we heard — there is a mass shooter and everybody needs to run. Everybody started running. A couple of the girls from my job and I fell to the floor, got trampled and were injured.
“After going through that whole situation, I am like — I could have died. I need to start doing something with my life. I need to start making a difference in my life basically. I need to start doing what I was born to do — I am a born leader. Everybody has told me that. Even though I tried to stay in the background, they always try to push me forward.”
Morgan, 41, said she remembered when Natasha Mackey was running for City Council and when Mackey told Morgan about it. At the time, Morgan said she was not ready and was preoccupied with other responsibilities, but now feels it is time for new blood on the City Council.
This is Morgan’s first time running for public office, but she said she is ready for the fight and excited to run. Morgan said she thought about running since July and thought seriously and researched the requirements over the holidays.
“I have some experience,” she said. “I might not be a politician — it’s nonpartisan anyway, but I feel like I have a strong voice. I could do better in the community and help people. I want to bridge that gap between our community and City Hall, be the voice and help get things done in Roswell.”
Of her challengers, Judy Stubbs and Richard Garcia, Morgan said she admires Stubbs and said Garcia is a gracious and professional man.
“It’s a new day and new era,” Morgan said. “Both of the candidates in my category — they’ve done a great job in the previous positions that they had, but I feel like it is time for a change and progression is key. That is my motto. I feel like I bring in a new fresh outlook and will strive to make Roswell keep going in the future and stay with the times. I do support term limits because things change. Things are constantly changing. If you have the same people in the same offices over and over and over — things become stagnant. We become accepting of mediocracy.”
Morgan said she is excited to see new blood in city politics and the candidates that came to mind were Jeffrey Cabana and Jacob Roebuck, both of which Morgan has worked with in the past, and Angela Moore is another candidate that she wishes luck to in the race.
On her own campaign, Morgan said she is easing into it, taking the process in, and introducing herself to more people in the community, which has helped her realize how much the city cares about who is on the City Council.
Morgan said she has attended council meetings in the past and is excited about the diversity of the candidates for this election. She is also excited to run and participate in the candidate forum.
The last day to register to vote and the candidate forum is on Feb. 6, early voting begins Feb. 14, and municipal election day is March 6.
On her personal politics, Morgan said she is a Democrat, but votes for the best candidate regardless of party.
For her endorsement of a mayoral candidate, Morgan said she endorses Mackey. Morgan also said she has noticed incumbent Mayor Dennis Kintigh’s actions in the past four years.
When asked what her top priorities would be if elected, Morgan said higher pay for teachers, city workers and first responders is of utmost importance. Morgan said helping the city stay fiscally responsible with the taxation of citizens is another focus.
“A little town like Carlsbad is paying their people way more than we are paying our people,” she said. “That is a shame. I am going to do my best to allocate and strengthen those areas.”
Morgan said she wants to see more businesses come to Roswell and will continue supporting local businesses. In her opinion, more businesses could help with the homeless issue by creating more jobs.
“I don’t feel like the City Council has done a horrible job at any of that, but we just need to keep progressing and moving forward,” Morgan said.
Morgan said she is interested in serving on the Parks and Recreation Commission and a committee that is business oriented.
“When it comes down to business, I don’t play,” Morgan said. “I’ll get the job done.”
Morgan graduated from Roswell High School and her family still resides in Roswell.
“I want to be a voice for the community,” she said. “I feel like in my Ward — and I have been in this Ward since I was in fifth grade — that no one ever came around and asked our opinion. ‘What do you think the city is doing? Do you have an opinion? What do you think we need?’ Still, to this day nobody has ever really asked. I want to be that person who is going to ask people in the community — basically, give hope to our community and be a voice.”
From constituents, Morgan said the complaints she is hearing pertain to crime in Enchanted Hills because the area is perceived to be wealthy and theft is occurring.
Morgan is researching community policing and applications to assist the process.
Constituents have also told Morgan they would like to see the Violent Crime Reduction Unit being restored to the Roswell Police Department.
I am running because I believe my skills, knowledge and community experience can promote progression into Roswell’s quality of life,” Morgan said. “I can help the council become more effective in doing its job to benefit the city of Roswell.”
“Roswell is very beautiful,” Morgan said. “It is. I would like to keep our city beautiful and keep the interest of the young people, so the new aquatic center that is coming in — great stuff like that — things to keep the youth busy. That’s what I definitely want to see.”
Working for Regis Corporation in her early career has allowed Morgan to travel overseas to Spain and Amsterdam and domestically to New York, California, Texas, Utah, California, Arizona and Colorado.
When she traveled, she said she always wants to come home to Roswell, but when she was younger she wanted to leave. Now she said as one matures it is easier to find things about the city to love, like theater, arts and museums. Morgan is the lead hair and makeup supervisor of Way Way Off-Broadway.
Working with the community and the youth gives her the advantage to communicate daily with many different citizens of Roswell.
“I have temperance,” Morgan said. “I will research what people bring up to me. I don’t make rash decisions.”
City reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.