• Comment

Bill Morris will not seek re-election for third term

Posted: February 7, 2018 - 12:41am
Columbia County Commissioner Bill Morris has decided to not seek re-election for a third term.
Columbia County Commissioner Bill Morris has decided to not seek re-election for a third term.

After eight years of service, Columbia County District 4 commissioner Bill Morris has said he does not plan to seek re-election, in an effort to focus on his two grandchildren and local history.

"The truth is I only wanted to serve one term and I went ahead and said OK, I'll run for a second term and I did and I won," Morris said. "But I realized pretty early on, I'm not a very good politician."

Morris' wife Lillie, called her husband more of a public servant than a politician.

"He was a teacher, principal, public school administrator, assistant superintendent, his whole adult life has been centered around pubic service, and there's a big difference between being a politician and a public servant," Lillie Morris said.

While politics is not for him, Bill Morris believes he has done what he took office to do, adding that he believes in the importance of term limits for any governmental office.

"I'm not knocking people who are in it for the long haul, they believe in what they're doing and they're doing a lot of good, but it just wasn't a good fit," Morris said.

Morris said he plans to spend more time with his two grandchildren and working on his family's 45-acre farm, where he raises Kiko meat goats and sells hay and firewood. And he plans to spend more time pursuing his real passion in history.

"My real love is history. I was a history major in college, I taught history for a number of years. That's where I want to spend my time and energy, is on the history of Columbia County," Morris said. "We have such a rich history and it's largely an untold story. Now in a time with technology, we can tell the story so quickly and mass produce it for all society. We didn't really have that ability before. I'm interested in that and excited about that."

Morris said he has become more involved in the Harlem history project, consisting of Morris and a group of other Harlem natives and historians working to preserve a large number of early 19th century records discovered in the attic of the county's first bank vault.

"With all the historical records and that has mushroomed into more and more and more," Morris said.

When the idea for the now under construction Performing Arts Center in Evans was introduced, Morris said he pushed to incorporate a Columbia County museum. And while funding was made available for the new Columbia Theater to house the new Laurel Hardy Museum in Harlem, Morris said he hopes to be able to compile more Columbia County history.

"We get more people in here, that's the first thing they want to know about is the history of the area. And there's nowhere they can go," Morris said, adding only Grovetown and Harlem have museums.

With Morris preparing to spend his last days in office at the end of the year, he said the county, specifically District 4 will continue to have its challenges moving forward. And the challenges will be something the district and the county are already facing.

"Just like it is now, growth, managed growth. A lot of pressure out here for neighborhoods and subdivisions. I am pushing back on that because it just doesn't fit," Morris said. "These concentrated residential areas, that's going to continue to be an issue."

In addition, Morris said he could see the possibility for the need to reconsider district lines, specifically in District 4, to better represent the residents of Harlem and Grovetown.

"When it comes time for LOST or SPLOST, we have to negotiate for them service agreements, and you have to negotiate with their governmental entities and they can get testy at times," Morris said. "The other districts, don't deal with that. It might be worth considering, if there is a shift, that maybe one of those areas be in one district and another be in another. It would probably be better for them, because Grovetown is so much larger than Harlem. It would probably be easier on the commissioner, to go into those negotiations because they're coming from different angles."

Morris said after the remainder of his 11 months of service are up, he hopes to be able to continue to be able to help the people of Columbia County.

"I lived in District 1 for 20 years, that's where our kids went to school and raised them. So a lot of people down there know me because I was principal at Martinez Elementary, assistant principal at South Columbia, Lakeside Middle. People from down there will call me and say ‘I know you're not my commissioner, but I need help with so and so,'" Morris said. "I think that will continue as people call. I still get calls from people about education. I have been retired 12-15 years. That legacy, follows you around. And people turn to somebody. I would like to be able to help them anyway that I can."

 

  • Comment