Chris Morris said he remembers going to the Dawson Springs Mayor’s office and sitting in the mayor’s chair at 5 years-old when his grandfather, Bethel Morris, was mayor.
Chris is now following in Bethel’s footsteps in serving Dawson Springs as a city council member after he won a seat on Nov. 3. Chris said his grandfather was a big factor in deciding whether to run or not.
“I wanted to get involved to see if I can make a difference,” he said.
Bethel Morris served two terms as mayor, multiple terms on the city council and was the last city judge of Dawson Springs before the position was discontinued.
Chris said his grandfather talked him into running for a seat on the city council in 2002 at the age of 21. He said he wasn’t that interested in winning and lost interest in politics after he lost by less than 10 votes.
“I said I wasn’t going to do it anymore and of course a lot of years went by,” said Morris. “I’ve been thinking about it for the past couple of elections and I just decided it was time.”
He said his father wasn’t surprised he ran for city council since he had been talking about running for several years. However, his grandfather passed away in 2006 and did not get to see him run for city council again.
Morris said he ran for city council because Dawson Springs needs some younger ideas. Some of the top issues he would like to work on are fixing the rundown and dilapidated properties in town, fixing the sidewalks and bringing small businesses to the town.
“Compared to where it was when I was in high school to what it is now ... 21 year later ... the change is unbelievable and it’s not a change for the better,” said Morris.
He wants to look into grants to help fix up the buildings and talk to other small towns to see how they are keeping up their buildings.
“I know Princeton does a real good job with it,” he said.
As for the sidewalks, Morris believes the city got a grant to fix them up. While they have fixed the sidewalks on one side of town, he is hoping the sidewalks on the other side of town get fixed soon and will work to make that happen.
To bring businesses to Dawson Springs, he said there is a lot of land available for businesses to build on.
“A town the size of Dawson Springs, you’re not going to get big businesses, so small businesses is what we rely on,” said Morris.
Morris said he has experience running a small business in Dawson Springs, having worked at his family’s NAPA Auto Parts store straight out of high school. He closed that store in 2015 after his father retired and now he works at the NAPA store in Madisonville.
“I know how hard it is for a small business in a town of that size, especially with the competition from the internet and everything nowadays,” said Morris.
He believes his experience as a former small business owner can bring a new outlook for the council and the City of Dawson Springs.
Some other goals he would like to see done is revitalizing Riverside Park, the ballpark built on Tradewater River. In the past, the Tradewater Pirates would use the field during the summer before moving and becoming the Madisonville Miners.
“No other town around here has got anything like it,” said Morris. “They have some high school games down there but it can be utilized much more than what it has been.”
If he is able to accomplish some of his goals and able to make a difference in Dawson Springs, Morris said he would run for city council again.
“I think I’ll be with it for a while, as long as they keep voting me in,” he said.
He said some people have asked him if he would eventually run for mayor of Dawson Springs. If he did, he said it would be many years down the road after retirement. His city council term starts in January and will last two years.