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State of California (Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Shasta, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba Counties) November 4, 2008 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Jeff Morris

Candidate for
United States Representative; District 2

This information is provided by the candidate

Jeff Morris is a Northern California native, a 6th generation descendant of miners and ranchers who settled in Trinity County in the 1870's. Today Morris, a Weaverville businessman and entrepreneur, is serving his fourth year as a Trinity County Supervisor and is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in California's 2nd Congressional District.

Born in 1967, Jeff spent his entire childhood in Trinity County, both in the county seat of Weaverville and in more remote areas such as Trinity Center and Big Bar. His grandfather, Leonard, served three terms as Trinity's County Clerk in addition to being proprietor of several prominent local businesses, one of which used Trinity County timber to built ship fenders for the Navy during World War II. Both Leonard and his wife, Florence, were strong supporters of arts programs throughout the county, and were horse-packers and hunters in whose company Jeff explored the Trinity Alps as a child and young adult. Jeff's father, Robert Morris, helped integrate phone service throughout Trinity County and was instrumental in developing the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area. His mother, Susanne Twight-Alexander, worked as a schoolteacher and later served as County Supervisor in Trinity's 2nd District -- the same seat to which Jeff was sworn in exactly twenty years later.

Jeff attended California State University Sacramento, studying music and international relations, and spent a year in Brazil as a foreign exchange student, learning Portuguese. In Sacramento, he worked for a legislative information and tracking service and spent six years as an advertising executive for Tower Records, handling million-dollar budgets annually. Based on their experience in the entertainment industry Jeff and his soon-to-be-wife Judy started a marketing firm in 1996. After a few years in Los Angeles, the couple returned to Trinity County, expanding their business to include a successful music shop and coffeehouse in the heart of downtown Weaverville. Jeff was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2004, while Judy, an advertising and marketing professional, served as President of the local Chamber of Commerce and became involved in other efforts to bring business opportunities to Trinity County. In 2006 they sold their retail interests to focus on web-based ventures and business consulting. Judy currently serves as California State Assembly member Patty Berg's ex-officio appointee to the Trinity County Democratic Central Committee.

As the Supervisor representing Trinity's most densely populated area, Jeff has been a driving force behind the county's financial turnaround, taking it from the edge of bankruptcy to a point where its bond rating has been upgraded from junk to investment status. In 2006, he and other local leaders pushed hard for passage of two ballot measures designed to shore up the finances of Trinity Hospital, preserving local emergency medical services for the county's 13,000 residents. This was accomplished with bipartisan support from the California State Legislature, including strong backing by Assembly member Patty Berg and State Senator Sam Aanestad. After passage, Jeff worked with Senator Barbara Boxer's office to secure additional capital improvement funds that helped bring the hospital's diagnostic equipment up to date.

To encourage economic development, Jeff has spearheaded an effort to create a new general plan for Trinity County, revising outdated land-use and zoning designations and insuring that local stakeholders drive the update process. Working with the California Emerging Technology Fund, he has also helped put Trinity on a fast track for expansion of broadband Internet, which will help county citizens, businesses, and students connect and compete internationally.

In 2006 Jeff served as vice-chair of the California State Association of Counties' Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Committee. In 2007 he was elected to one of two rural-county seats on the association's executive committee and appointed chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee. During 2007 he served as co-chair of the association's Working Group on Climate Change, which produced a policy framework to guide counties in managing and reversing climate change while also discouraging a top-down, "one-size-fits-all" regulatory approach. Jeff's concern about overburdening California's small rural counties was a consistent theme in the development of this policy.

Jeff is currently working with other California county supervisors to improve the way Washington compensates rural counties for tax revenues lost to protected national forest land -- compensation that is vital to funding rural schools and road projects. He's also been deeply involved in the establishment of the Weaverville Community Forest, a 1,000-acre tract that represents a new model of federal land management, bringing local, timber, and environmental constituencies to the table to allow sustainable harvesting of local timber resources. Last year, 800,000 board feet of lumber from this forest were delivered to a local mill, which in previous years had been forced to import logs from Canada. Because of this success, an additional 12,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service land in the Weaverville Basin is currently being considered for inclusion in the Community Forest initiative.

Jeff makes his home in Weaverville with his wife, Judy.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: July 31, 2008 13:22
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