Pubdate: Wed, 26 Apr 2000
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Copyright: 2000 Mountain Xpress
Contact:  PO Box 144, Asheville, NC 28802
Fax: (828) 251 1311
Author: Michael Morgan
Note: Morgan is a Democratic candidate for state House District 51.


A newspaper reporter asked me, "Mr. Morgan, as a convicted felon, who
do you think would vote for you? Who do you think you would represent?"

I replied, "I can represent several groups of people! Some of those
groups overlap."

First, there are the Christians. True Christians understand that once
I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart and re-dedicated my
life to serving God, I became a changed person. The Bible says that I
am a new person in Christ Jesus. Christians want someone to represent
them who is proud to say that they are a Christian, and someone who
will take Christian ideals into the legislature.

I can represent farmers, who need a new crop that is valuable for a
lot of uses, a crop that is prolific, easily grown, and doesn't
deplete the soil as badly as cotton and tobacco does. That crop is
hemp. ...

This brings me to the third group of citizens I can represent: the
huge disenfranchised segment of our society who, like myself, don't
think it is criminal to smoke pot. I feel that is one of the reasons
why so many citizens in our population don't vote, especially the
younger people. They don't have a candidate who will openly express
their views and fight for their right to smoke whatever they want to.

I can represent the respectable, nonpartying, hardworking citizens who
know or suspect that their children or grandchildren smoke pot, and
even though they disapprove of the smoking itself, they realize that
the smoking will do their children less harm than a lengthy prison

That brings me to the fourth group of people I can represent: people
who have been affected negatively by the justice system. I treasure
freedom much more than most people because I've had mine taken away. I
know, better than most people, what it's like to live under tyranny.
At this time, one in 34 adults in the U.S. over the age of 18 is
either in prison or on probation or parole. And that's not counting
people like me who are finished with the system.

For every one in 34, there are [family], friends and neighbors who are
affected when that one goes to prison. Figure an average of five
people affected when one person goes to prison, and that equates to
about one in seven people in the U.S. who know someone personally who
is in trouble with the law. ...

While I'm speaking of freedom, let me say that I understand how our
personal freedoms are being eaten away by big government. Gun control,
illegal searches, police brutality and senseless killings, with no
recourse for the victims are some examples. Rich and influential
people can buy justice with dream teams of lawyers. Poor people go to

Speaking of poor people, I can represent the poor people of all races.
I know exactly what it's like to have to struggle for a living, to
wonder where the money for the next payment is going to come from. I
know exactly what it's like to work from daylight until dark, and then
study until 2 a.m. for an [upcoming] exam.

Having graduated from UNCA in 1996, and having successfully graduated
four different times from A-B Tech, (twice since I was released from
prison), I can represent students because I understand their needs.

I can represent the people who are concerned about conservation,
watershed preservation, recycling and the ecology in general. Even
while I was busy rebuilding my personal life and building a successful
business, I still made time to handle local environmental problems. I
organized and led the work force which cleaned up and refurbished the
childrens' playground in the Beacon village. ... I discovered that the
Beacon watershed was in imminent danger of being destroyed by being
developed as a stone quarry. I organized and led the petition drive
which prevented that disaster from occurring. I'm still working to get
that watershed preserved.

Many of these groups overlap and, taken collectively, represent the
greatest portion of our population. I can represent them all, better
than anyone else I know.

That's why I am willing to submit myself to public scorn in the

96 Michael Morgan
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