Amber Faith Morris says she plans to bring her Republican values to the Front Royal Town Council if she’s elected in November.
Morris, 28, seeks a seat on council in a special Nov. 2 election to fill a vacancy created when Jacob Meza resigned amid questions about the legality of his appointment. Town Council did not appoint a replacement.
She is running against H. Bruce Rappaport, who unsuccessfully ran for council in November.
Early voting begins Sept. 17.
Morris, a Front Royal native, is a member of the Warren County Republican Committee and has been its treasurer for the last 31/2 years. During her time with the committee, Morris said she helped the party elect “accountable” Republicans to local, state and federal offices to support and hold those positions.
Over the last two years, Morris said she has wanted to serve on the Town Council “to extend the core values of the Republican Party in a way that will enhance personal rights and liberties.”
Morris noted that she is running for a non-partisan office in the election. The Republican Committee endorsed, but did not nominate, her candidacy.
Morris said she wants council to take further steps to address the town’s blighted properties. Morris, who had served as chairwoman of the housing selection committee for Habitat for Humanity, said fixing the problem would improve the aesthetics of Front Royal and Warren County. This, she said, would attract tourism and ultimately increase the tax base.
“I would also just work to continue forward on the town codes and the zoning that they’ve been working to update,” Morris said. “Something that a lot of people don’t know is there’s more than 80 boarded-up buildings within the town limits right now.
“The fact that there are so many blighted buildings affects everything else that I plan to do on my campaign, which is partially improving the aesthetics, bringing and incentivizing new businesses to come here. So I would just work on the Town Code and the planning and zoning commission to hold these (property) owners accountable and to assist them and to offer support and find out why they’ve sat. Some of them have sat the way that they’re sitting right now for my entire life.”
The town should support property owners by offering resources and tools in an effort to rehabilitate blighted properties rather than use more aggressive means like eminent domain, Morris said. She added that the town’s new Economic Development Authority could help in an effort to encourage people to invest in commercial and residential properties.
Morris has spoken publicly about the somewhat turbulent relationship between the town and the county, urging them to work together.
“For whatever reason, it doesn’t seem to be happening right now,” Morris said.
Morris said the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority and the town’s EDA need to focus on both localities and “righting the wrongs that have been done in Front Royal (and) Warren County.”
“I think we’re done suffering for everyone else’s fraud and all the losses that we’ve had here,” she said. “We’ve been ripped off for so long. Whether the town and county want to work together or not, they need to focus on what’s best for everybody.”
Morris said she also wants to cut spending and tighten the town’s budget.
“I’m extremely fiscally conservative as a Republican, obviously, and by that I will say that I was in support of the last tax cut, on record, publicly, and I absolutely intend in my time on Front Royal Town Council to find more ways to cut the budget, whether it be reallocating funds or another tax decrease,” Morris said. “I don’t think that there’s any reason why we should just hold the line rather than decreasing the taxes here.”
Morris and her husband have three children. She attended public schools and private Christian schools in Warren County and Front Royal before graduating from Skyline High School. Morris said she continues taking courses through Lord Fairfax Community College.