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Frances Morgan touts 'special set of skills' in bid to retain Jefferson Co. Commission seat

October 08, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Frances Morgan
Frances Morgan

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Democrat Frances Morgan, a Jefferson County Commissioner, wants to stay on the job for six more years.

“It’s a great job if you can get it,” said Morgan, 49, an organic farmer on her Aylmere Farm in Summit Point, W.Va.

Jefferson County commissioners, according to state code, earn $36,960 a year.

Early voting runs from Oct. 24 to Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

Morgan’s is the only commission seat on the Nov. 6 ballot. None of her four colleagues are up for re-election this year.

Morgan is facing a rematch Nov. 6 from Republican Jane Tabb. Tabb held the seat that Morgan beat her out of in 2006 by more than 300 votes.

“This time my target is to widen that margin of victory,” Morgan said. “I had no political experience in 2006. Now I have a network of volunteers, including an inner circle of five women. They do my website, media, advertising, finances and sign placement. One of them stands in for me when I can’t make an event.”

She said what the county commission does affects the long-term future of the county and its residents.

“It’s an important job and I bring to it a special set of skills,” Morgan said.

She earned a law degree from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from George Washington University. She worked for a Washington, D.C., law firm handling land-use issues, among other duties.

“Land-use issues are complicated, but I can talk to lawyers and I can look under the hood,” she said.

Among issues facing the commissioners are a vote on a first-time fire service fee, consolidating the county’s seven volunteer fire departments under the Jefferson County Emergency Services Agency and drafting a new comprehensive plan “that won’t just sit on a shelf.”

A looming fiscal crisis for the county deals with expected reductions in the tax revenue that Jefferson County receives from Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Competition from new gambling venues to be built in Maryland are expected to have a serious negative financial effect on the Charles Town casino.

“We’re looking at some serious cuts there,” Morgan said. “The money we get from the casino represents about 25 percent of the county’s budget. We’re going to have to do some serious financial planning.”

Morgan supports cutting county commission terms from six years to four years.

“Six-year terms in this fast-changing world are a relic of days gone by,” she said in a news release. “The county commission sets vital spending and land-use policies, and it should be answerable to the citizens on a more frequent basis.”

Morgan is divorced. She has three children — Sarah, 24; Cyrus, 23; and Rebecca, 14.

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