Morse, Katt begin battle for District 6.

July 31, 2020

Morse, Katt begin battle for District 6.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

Phil Morse is only Republican candidate who filed to run for District 6 on the Oceana County Board of Commissioners, and Alex Katt filed “No Party Affiliation.”

Morse is the only candidate who will appear on the Aug. 4 primary ballot, but the two candidates will face off in the Nov. 3 general election.

District 6 includes Shelby Township with the exception of a portion of the Village of New Era. Long-time commissioner James Brown chose not to run for re-election.

OCP sent the candidates questionnaires seeking biographical information, and the following information was provided by each candidate:

Phil Morse

Phil Morse, 41, and wife Missy have three children.

Morse is the principal of New Era Christian School and has served in that role for 10 years. He has worked in the education field for 17 years.

Morse served a partial term on the New Era Village Council six years ago.

Morse is a member of New Era Christian Reformed Church and is a leader of a Bible study group that used to meet monthly, called Morning at Morat’s. He has been a member of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Reserve Unit for the past five years. He is
an intake volunteer at Oceana County’s Love Inc in Shelby. Morse has served as a coach for his children’s baseball teams in the Shelby Rec League.

Morse graduated from Spring Lake High School and received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Grand Valley State University. “I didn’t have the honor of serving in the military,” he said when answering a question about military experience.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it?

The most important issue I see facing our county is having enough revenue to provide our departments with what they need to thrive. I’m also a proponent of raising revenue without raising taxes. I have two ideas that I would like our county board to consider. 1.  Explore the idea of creating a “grant writer” position. The singular role of the person in this position would be to apply for grants that would benefit our county’s departments. 2.  Provide the public with forums to share their thoughts and ideas on how to raise revenue without raising taxes through an online platform as well as through public meetings. Our county has smart people with great ideas.

Alex Katt

Alex Katt:

“After 34 years my fiancé Hannah, 2 1/2 year old son James and I are excited for our family to be complete after our wedding next year. In 2005 I graduated from Shelby High School and enlisted in the United States Navy. After completing boot camp, traveled to Sheppard Air Force Base for continued education in heating, cooling, ventilation, refrigeration, and plumbing then transferred to Port Hueneme, California. While stationed in Port Hueneme I trained as a combat lifesaver and learned the ‘can do’ spirit of the Navy Seabees. After countless hours and many sleepless nights, I learned the importance of safety preparation and brotherhood to get us ready for our deployment. After returning back to California, I spent the next couple months preparing myself for integration back into civilian life and moving back to West Michigan. The next year and a half I stayed active in the reserves passing off my knowledge and experience to the younger troops.

“In 2011 I started to find my true calling, started my own lawn care business A-Katt’s Complete Care, accepted a job at an after-school program at Shelby High School, Aspire, and became a more active member of a non-profit organization called the Oceana County Old Newsies. It didn’t take long to realize I loved giving back and making a difference. I proudly accepted the vice president position for the Old Newsies and love being able to help provide Christmas gifts for over 700 kids in our own county every year. While working at the Aspire after-school program, I have had many roles but loved my position at the high school teaching financial management, home and automotive repair, resumes, college readiness, and many other good skills that will help them throughout their life. While working for Aspire I took on the role of working hard with the students and faculty on any late or missing assignments as well as tools and ideas for maintaining grades and organization.”

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it?

In a recent annual report from the Michigan Transportation Asset Management Council, 339 of the 836 lane miles — or 46 percent of roads in Oceana County — are rated poor. Oceana County is a place we call home and I would be proud to be District 6 county commissioner. As county commissioner it would give me an opportunity to reach out, and give back to the community that has given us so much. As we all travel through West Michigan, we realize the roads and Oceana County are not up to par. I, as well as everyone else, would love it if when leaving and coming home it was the best part of our commute.

COVID has been causing issues everywhere, less people driving and the Secretary of State by appointment only is only adding to the mess. As things start opening up and getting back to normal, the MTF money should start flowing back into county road commissions as well as our cities and villages again. With all of the many changes we are seeing in Oceana County, we look forward to new and outside-of-the box ideas and thinking to improve our infrastructure and communities that we love so much.

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