Republican precinct officials recently chose Bob Morris to replace Randy Borror as the Indiana House District 84 representative. The owner of HealthKick Nutrition Centers, he takes office immediately but also begins campaigning for re-election, as Borror’s term expires this year. Editorial writer Karen Francisco spoke with Morris about his new job. Here are excerpts of the interview; listen to the entire interview by going to The Journal Gazette’s home page at www.journa1gazette.net, click opinion, then click 5 Questions for Bob Morris.
1You’ve been a candidate for city council and Congress. What attracted you to a seat in the General Assembly?
Running all of my businesses in the 84th District and my HealthKick Nutrition Center stores – my first store was founded in Georgetown Square – was what really attracted me. Representing the people of the 84th District and listening to them.
2 How does your experience as a business owner shape your views of the legislature?
Balancing my company’s budget as well as my home budget. My brothers and I have been in business for 12 years. We all balance our budgets.
Thank God that in the state of Indiana, it is in our Constitution that the state cannot operate unless we have a balanced budget.
And that is why we’re in such good shape today, with Gov. Daniels’ good business mind.
3 What are you hearing from District 84 voters as far as their concerns for state government?
I’ve been contacted by quite a few educators, and these educators are telling me they are really worried after this year what is going to happen with their school system.
Sixty-five percent of our proposed state budget is focused on education, so we really need to work with these teachers, work with the school systems and with Superintendent Tony Bennett, in making sure we don’t forget the kids and making sure they get the best education they can.
4 What will be your top legislative priority if you win in November?
I’m really intrigued by offering these students a reward if they can graduate high school early. From the state’s perspective, if these students wish to go to a state school, it’s still costing taxpayers money to educate them past the 12th grade.
What I propose is offering these students a scholarship if they want to graduate early. We are going to take that money that the state funds these students from the high school and basically reward them and say, Here is your money that the state would have spent over the next two or three or four years and you can use that in your post-education, in college.
5 You once drove a horse and buggy to your business to promote fuel conservation. Should we expect any unusual advertising approaches in your campaign?
I am always thinking of different ways to get a message out to people. I told a few of my employees if gas got over $2 a gallon, I was going to ride my horse and buggy to work.
Yes, I probably will do something to bring people’s attention and say, Hey, this gentleman wants to go down to the Statehouse and he wants to make a difference for the 84th District.