By Jim Jacek
Every week we are featuring a city council candidate. This week’s candidate is Chad Morrow. Here is his story: I moved to Allen Park less than a year ago. I grew up in Northern Michigan and spent over 10 years working at ABC Warehouse. While with the company, I spent some time in the Novi location which is when I first fell in love with the metro Detroit area. I eventually went back to Gaylord though and a few short years later left ABC Warehouse after 10 years of employment for a new opportunity.
I went to work at Extreme Powersports and what a huge change that was. I had worked for 10 years with the same people for the most part, and now had all new faces as well as a whole new industry. Some of the skills you pick up in sales are communication skills and the ability to listen, both which were important in adapting to a new environment, as well as important skills to be an elected official.
It was while working at Extreme Powersports that a close friend of mine who had 2 previous battles with brain cancer, informed me he was about to fight round 3. The chemo and radiation previously took a great toll on him and he decided this time he was going to use Rick Simpson Oil, made from cannabis. His this battle was his shortest.
It was then I truly saw the miraculous benefits cannabis could offer and I took a job at a dispensery in 2015. It started off great, seeing the amount of people getting relief, and knowing i was truly helping others. As in many parts of the state, there was much confusion in law and raids ensued. I showed up to work and the building was locked and empty. It was raided and closed. After seeing all the hurt in patients eyes and feeling their hurt in messages, I decided then to step up. We created a charter with the city, I then opened my own shop while others reopened theirs and we took care of patients. Unfortunately the governor had yet to sign the dispensery licensing act's into law and our charter didn't trump state law and the raids happened again. It was a long two years with wins and losses on both sides but ended with all 9 shops shuttered and each owner taking a slap on the wrist.
I learned a lot about laws, politics, policies and people. The one thing I took away the most though, was how great it felt to truly help and represent the people. From donating to charity, hosting community events, being a voice, to getting random thank you cards, it felt amazing. I then knew I found my calling, and that was representing the people, taking action, and being the change we're want to see.
Fortunately when everything was over up North, an opportunity arose for me to come back downstate. I'm opening a new business in Westland, a vape shop also concentrating on CBD health products. Even though I knew I'd be working in Westland, I chose Allen Park for several reasons. The close knit small neighborhood feeling is phenomenal. The schools are excellent and where there's excellent schools, there's excellent people. In the short time I've lived here, I've made several quality friendships and whenever I cross the path of a fellow Allen Parker I don't know, I always get a warm smile and a hello.
My decision to run for council came when some fellow residents were talking about past lawsuits and their concern of some current ordinances that are potential lawsuits as well. They had commented that every seat was up and I simply said now's the time to get involved, not necessarily thinking about myself. One person looked at me and said "you're right, you should run. You love speaking up, helping others, and no one I know is more selfless than you. " I realized how serious they were, and after some thought, I thought how better to meet my new community than to hit the ground running and be a real productive member of it. Going door to door only confirmed I made the right decision. Hearing the resident’s concerns and knowing that not only can I be their voice, I can be a part of forming solutions, well that's an honor I not only look forward to but full on embrace.
Things I heard were we need change, a new face, a new direction. Many residents were of course concerned with recent and past years flooding, quality of roads, financial stability, lawsuits, fire department funding, cannabis facilities, and basic services like dangerous tree removal from city land. Of course these things cost money and knowing Allen Park supported cannabis legalization with 57% support, I mentioned to many the path of petitioning the question of these facilities to November's ballot and there was much enthusiasm. I thought what better way to show the people how hard I'll work to represent you than to start now and show them the way rather than waiting until November. I believe it should be up to the voters of Allen Park to decide, after all it's your city, not mine or whomever the 7 members of the council turn out to be in November.
Of course this isn't a cure all. Many of the things we need cost money and we must with diligently to create revenue without passing the expense to residents in the form of taxes. In fact, creating more avenues of revenue could even bring residents taxes down. Michigan is expected to bring in more tax revenue than every other state except California. I want you the constituent to hold the decision if we'll capture that revenue and embrace these in our community, or let them go elsewhere. Your community, your voice.
We must find ways to entice businesses to come invest in Allen Park, while encouraging small business growth as well. After all, small business is the backbone of America. I look forward to seeing not just business growth, but community growth as well. Growth is comes in many ways. As a young teen who got into mischief, I grew out of that. Years later with the dispensary, I grew into a leader. I've been able to take negatives and nurture them into positives. I was awarded an honorary award for activism from the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. I've traveled the state speaking to councils, legislators, at events, and have been interviewed by media throughout Michigan. If a voice is what you want on city council, I'm your candidate.
I'm truly hoping that my campaign will encourage others to get out and be more involved. Not a lot of young people run for office. We only had roughly 2500 voters at the mayoral primary race. I'd really like to see people excited to vote, eager to discuss current issues with candidates, and more eager to see the results come in.
As a council candidate, my duty is to earn your trust and confidence so you'll give me your vote in November. It's not always easy when so many politicians give you the same robotic happy talk and rarely deliver on campaign promises. That won't be the case with me upon being elected your councilman. I'll be transparent and have wide open lines of communication. I will listen to you and address your concerns. I think two of the most important qualifications are to simply put your own opinion aside, and listen to fact, reason, and most importantly, your constituents. The other qualification would be you've gotta be able to speak for the people and stay up to date on things the people concern themselves with, regardless if you yourself support it or not. Our job as councilman and women are to represent you, and not our own ideals.
People want change, change won't happen unless we're willing to think differently, openly, and even a bit out of the box. I look forward to speaking with you all between now and November, hearing your concerns and listening to your ideas. Working together, we can grow, pay off debt, have confidence in our city, develop great relationships and most importantly.... truly let the Pearl of Downriver shine.
Get up to speed on local candidates before heading to the polls