• How long have you lived in Siloam Springs?
"I've lived in Siloam Springs for almost 10 years, and I grew up in a very transient family. So we moved around a lot, and this is the longest I've ever lived anywhere."
• Where were you originally from?
"I was born in Indiana, grew up in Kentucky and Kansas City, and then after I finished high school I lived and worked overseas in several different countries."
• Are you married with kids or grandkids?
"I am married to Clark Scholz, we have a fur baby named Sophie, a Goldendoodle, so no kids but a dog, and we have been married for almost five years."
• What is your educational background?
"So, I'm the first female in my family to have earned any type of higher education. I finished high school in Kansas City, and then lived and worked overseas in a children's home in India for a year. And then I realized the invaluable opportunity that I had in even being able to go to college, so I came home. I went to a community college in Kansas City -- Johnson County Community College -- and I worked, supporting myself through that whole experience and that was wonderful. I finished my associate's degree, and then I took another year off and then I lived and worked overseas. While I had been working overseas, I kept meeting really amazing alumni from JBU; in Israel, in India, in Thailand. That's how I heard about JBU, from running into alumni in other countries. So I applied to JBU, got a really awesome scholarship and financial aid package and came here to school, and finished my bachelor's degree from John Brown University with a Bachelor's in English with an emphasis in creative writing and literature. At JBU, I also got to study in Oxford, in England, as a part of my undergraduate career, which is a perfect place for an English major. So community college, JBU, Oxford and then I finished my bachelor's degree, worked for Main Street Siloam Springs for several years and then went to the University of Arkansas for my graduate degree. I have a master's (degree) in English rhetoric, composition and literacy from the University of Arkansas, and then I was the instructor of record for several composition classes for several years there as well."
• What is your employment background?
"I've been working since I was 14 years old and my first job was at Chick-fil-A. Somebody asked me the other day, 'What was your first job out of college?' I said, 'Well, I supported myself through college, so I've had real jobs my entire college career.' When I was at JBU I worked as the office manager for the communications department, and then when I graduated, I worked as the director of development and promotion for Main Street Siloam Springs. Then, I was at the University of Arkansas, I was an instructor of record for composition I and II. Then I worked for Community Clinic in northwest Arkansas managing communications for that entire nonprofit, and now I work as communications director for a company called Bee Unlimited in Fayetteville, which is an apparel and design company."
• What were your motives for running for city board?
"First of all, because our current director is not running again. I'm really supportive of Amy Smith, who is the director for Ward 4, and have a lot of respect for her; those are some big shoes to fill. I think she's been exemplary in the amount of research and preparedness she puts into every single meeting. That being said, part of why I am running is because she's not, and because I feel like we need to retain someone in the seat for Ward 4 who is committed to being informed and prepared for every single meeting and for every single decision. I know that I'll do that very well. I'm a scholar, I'm an academic, I'm not phased by reading 90 pages of ordinances in preparation for a two and a half hour meeting, and also, I'm a collaborator and a communicator, and so I think I can be mindful in the decisions that I'm making but also who I'm making those decisions on behalf of."
• As it pertains to local government, what specific issues do you feel could or should be improved, if any?
"I don't have any personal agenda in running for city board of directors. I actually want to be very intentional to not express prioritization of any sort of set of concerns or issues, because my perception of the role of a city board member is to truly hear and represent the concerns of my neighbors in Ward 4. I'm not coming to this campaign with any set of personal agenda or prioritization of any particular issues, other than protecting and preserving this place that has been home to me for the past 10 years. I think that there's always -- this is cliché -- but of course there's always area for improvement. I think since I've been in Siloam the past 10 years, I've seen so much dynamic growth and development (and) what I want to see is a continuation of that, but also with a tremendous amount of concern and respect for what we already have. So I think if I had one answer to that question, it's that I'm looking forward to being an engaged, informed and collaborative member of that decision-making process about what we should prioritize on a city level, but I'd never presume to have a complete set of ideals and information."
• Can you name three things that you feel make you qualified to represent Ward 4?
"I'd say number one, I have experience -- I would say three-tiered experience -- that qualifies me to be on the city board. One, I have a strong but diverse educational background, I also have a very robust and established employment background where I specialize in education and communication, which are both I think key components that would make great contributions to the board or to any government position. And three, I have a different lived-experience I think than a lot of people, and I think that would be a good representative for a lot of our community members. I'm a female, minority, millennial; there's not anyone else with all three of those qualifications on the board."
• If elected, how would you go about communicating with members of your ward?
"I'm already very accessible in our community. I've lived and worked in Siloam Springs, again for almost 10 years. And so I feel like a lot of people know who I am and know how to access me in order to share their concerns. I also would say that the way I'm running my campaign right now would be a model of that. I'm cautiously engaged in social media and am using that platform not to debate or engage in issues, but simply to provide information so I'm educating all of my followers on how our city government works. I'm inviting all of my followers to every single city board meeting, and I'm alerting all of my followers on social media to what is being voted on on the board level. Already in my campaign, I'm seeking out the input and feedback of my constituents. I've set up a series of meet and greet events, because I want to meet and be accessible to and be connected to the people who I hope to represent, and I don't feel like it's alright for me to ask for their vote because I have a cool yard sign. So, I'm providing as many ways of engaging with the people and my neighbors in Ward 4 as possible by developing a really extensive website that provides a lot of information, by making myself available at a series of different events in my ward, and by engaging on social media with whoever wants to follow and learn what I'm all about."
• Is there anything that you would like to add that I haven't asked or that has not been discussed?
"My campaign slogan is 'Committed to our community: Past, present and future,' and I chose that because that's what I want people to know -- that I'm committed to Siloam Springs. People ask me everyday 'Why do you live in Siloam?' For me, it has never been a question, because Siloam is my home, and I'm committed to that community and to preserving the past, building the present and planning for the future."General News on 10/10/2018
Print Headline: Morgan Scholz, Ward 4 candidate