Alliance for Good Government
The Alliance for Good Government questions are in bold and numbered. Sean’s answers are below each question.
- Prior Public Experience (if any)
Sean Morrison’s career as an attorney has been anything but traditional. He worked with amputees from Sierra Leone’s brutal civil war, while prosecuting war criminals in Freetown. He went scuba diving with the Governor of American Samoa to show him the island’s pristine coral reefs after a devastating tsunami. And he has helped Mississippi raise islands out of the ocean to build bird nesting habitat and great beaches.
Sean Morrison has spent most of his career serving people directly through government service. Not as a politician, but as a state employee. He spent four years as an Assistant Attorney General in American Samoa, a U.S. Territory. He began as a criminal prosecutor, handling complex cases including murder and embezzlement. After a tsunami hit the islands in 2009, he moved to the Department of Commerce, where he helped with rebuilding efforts, future disaster mitigation, environmental protection, and economic development.
He went on to be a Special Assistant Attorney General representing the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, protecting the beautiful Gulf Coast – its wetlands, beaches, and fisheries – for future generations. He only left that career so he could refocus on rebuilding Louisiana in the State House of Representatives.
- Private Sector Experience
I have dedicated my career towards serving people through public service. But I have had some regular jobs in the private sector. Currently, I am focusing on my law firm, which serves the business community with a focus on startups. I am expanding its scope to help with estate planning for children with special needs. I have run this firm since 2013 for the startup community.
- Relevant Volunteer or Community Activities
One of the greatest things about Slidell and St. Tammany is the warm, welcoming community. I am Treasurer of the Slidell Toastmasters, and Chair of the St. Tammany Democratic Party. I graduated from Leadership St. Tammany. I represent the 22nd Judicial District as a delegate to the Louisiana Bar Association, and serve on the Bar’s Legislative Committee.
Previously, I was Executive Director of the American Samoa Democratic Party and served two terms as President of the American Samoa Bar Association. I was also state lead of the Louisiana chapter of Lawyers for Good Government.
- Organizational Affiliations
I graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Political Science and Psychology, and a minor in Philosophy. I studied international criminal law at Case Western Reserve University school of law in Cleveland, Ohio, and spent six months in Sierra Leone working with the war crimes tribunal in the prosecution team.
- Qualifications for the Office Sought
As a government attorney, I know how government services are supposed to be provided, and I know what gets in their way. I understand how budgets, grants, regulations, and statutes work together to either serve, or not serve, the people of Louisiana. Most importantly, I recognize that more often than not, it’s legislators with grand ideas, but who cannot listen to the agencies, that cause most inefficiencies and waste in government.
- Prior Political Candidacies and Activities
I have always been interested in making government work better, not politics. But over the years it became clear that we need to get politics out of the way of government. I have never been a candidate for political office, but have volunteered in others’ campaigns. My most significant involvement has been with the Democratic Party, where I now serves as Chair of the St. Tammany DPEC.
- Top Three Goals for Your Term if Elected to Office
First, change the conversation away from our decade of do-nothing government, and towards finding ways to get Louisiana back in the business of serving its citizens and helping business thrive.
Second, work directly with Louisiana government agencies to find out what works and what doesn’t. We should focus on improving services, not just defunding agencies.
Third, identify opportunities to improve the economic development of Slidell and Pearl River. This means working closely with the local governments and making sure the state is contributing to our growth, infrastructure, storm protection, and jobs.
- Vision for the office sought
I foresee an opportunity to refocus state government back towards helping the people. Too many have said that nothing can be done to solve the state’s problems, and then they get into office and prove it. Having worked in government as an attorney, I have seen the inner-workings of how things get done. I know the obstacles and opportunities our agencies face. And I know that most inefficiencies start with the legislature. I want to help clear those obstacles so that our state agencies can get back to business. And I will measure success by how well they serve the people of District 90.
- What distinguishes you from the other candidates seeking this office?
I am unique in that my career has been spent in government service – not in politics but in the trenches of helping get things done. As such I have the experience and understanding of government to actually improve the way it works. I can talk to government employees and figure out what is needed to improve their mission. And I can work with the people of the District to find out what works for them and how to build on it.
- How much do you plan to spend on this campaign?
- Please name your five (5) largest contributors to this campaign with amount donated.
[To be released along with ethics reporting]
- Do any of your family members currently do business with any government entity? If so, please explain.
Not that I am aware.
- In your opinion, what do you consider “good government”?
Good government is one that is both effective and efficient. Not just cheap. It is government that provides the services the legislature has tasked it to do. I am running because I want to make our Louisiana government better, not just cheaper.
- Is there anything in your background that may be of an issue to the Alliance for Good Government (Le.: arrests, indictments, criminal investigations, criminal records, sanctions, etc.)? If you have ever been arrested, indicted, convicted, been under criminal investigation or sanctioned, please state where and when and give a brief explanation.
- If applicable, please provide your blueprint, if any, for the office you seek, regarding crime, budgeting, economic growth, homelessness and efficiency and effectiveness.
Louisiana is finally taking the first steps towards smart criminal justice. The cities and parish within St. Tammany have focused on a community oriented approach that has improved relations with our police, while lowering crime dramatically. Louisiana is no longer the incarceration capital of the world. But it’s the first step. The opioid crisis plagues our families, and justice reform still needs to be defended and enhanced.
Slidell can do better. We need to revitalize Olde Towne, bring new ideas to the Northshore Mall, and make Slidell known as an economic engine in Southeast Louisiana. We can’t do it by trying the same ideas over and over. Moving retail from one part of town to the next is not a plan for growth. We need to identify our strengths, and grow from there. We have a lot of opportunities in sectors like logistics, education, and technology. My job, as State Representative, will be to ensure the cities and Parish have what they need to execute on these plans.
Homelessness is a problem in our area, but we are missing the problem by focusing on panhandlers. Treating people with dignity and respect goes a lot farther than ostracizing them. We should look for opportunities to get them out of the situation that has caused their homelessness. Perhaps it was a lost job, mental health issues, or crushing medical debt. Cities that have tried fighting them, like Honolulu, have failed and spent far more in jail and permits than they would have spent simply housing people. Others, like the city of Fort Worth, TX have actually started hiring their homeless population to help clean the streets to great success.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
We need to start by talking to the people of the District and finding out what services they have lost due to the budget cuts. Then we need to talk to the State agencies to see how they have been diminished and where they have stopped helping people. Once we identify the gaps, we can reevaluate whether certain services are necessary, or leaving a legal burden on agencies without sufficient funding to carry out the tasks. Some service may be cut so others can be performed well. Others may need additional funding to improve the lives of the people of District 90.