Can a Military Spouse Run for Local Office? She Is


It's easy for military spouses to get caught up in the insular military community and never leave base. But at least one Navy spouse sees a value in getting outside that bubble. And to stretch it even further, she's running for City Council in her military-hometown.

Kalish Morrow, who is stationed with her husband at Naval Air Station Lemore in Hanford, California, is running for Hanford's City Council as an independent, she said.  A resident of the area since 2011, Morrow owns a boutique in Hanford's downtown called The Soaking Tub and a interior design service through her website. After moving to the area and opening her business, she said she got involved in the local downtown area and became passionate about issues impacting local residents and businesses.

When she saw how much the downtown area is struggling as big box stores come in to other parts of town, she decided to do something about it.

"We have a downtown that’s struggling very much and our city council has been ... perpetuating the problem," she said. "We're just perpetuating this urban sprawl and it’s already been hurting our downtown to begin with."

Military spouses often don't get involved in local politics or open local businesses because they feel like they are temporary residents. Morrow said because of the nature of her husband's job, her family will be in the area long term, eliminating that concern.

Lemore -- and Hanford, by extension -- are among those military towns that have a bad reputation, Morrow said. But she said that in Hanford's case the reputation doesn't reflect reality.

"I want to change this town where the military actually want to be here," she said. "We’ve got a lot of hidden gems here."

Morrow said getting involved in your local community isn't just for spouses who know they are going to be in a certain location for a long time. While it might be difficult to run for office if you're only going to be somewhere for two or three years, there are other ways you can get plugged in.

"There's so many nonprofit organizations," she said. "I would suggest just getting involved in some of the different local non-profits, get out of the military circle, expand out and meet some more local people, too."


Photo courtesy of  Savanna Morgret. 

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