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Morrell highlights workforce, literacy in campaign for mayor of Marion

Ronald Morrell, Jr. (Photo aired on WISH-TV)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A candidate for mayor of Marion said the city needs to partner with schools and employers to bring jobs back to the city.

Ronald Morrell, Jr., a minister and the owner of an event center in Marion, is the Republican nominee for mayor of that city.

The city of roughly 28,000 is the seat of Grant County, about an hour northeast of Indianapolis. Morrell is challenging Democratic incumbent Jess Alumbaugh. He says he is running in part as a result of interactions he’s had with at-risk youth through the Grant County Boys and Girls Club.

“I took it upon myself to show the future generation that you can do anything you want to right here in Marion, Indiana, and become who you want to be, even if that’s the mayor,” he said.

Morrell says workforce development is central to his campaign. He said the city should partner with Marion Community Schools, Ivy Tech, and Indiana Wesleyan University to encourage young people to explore a career in trades, especially as electricians or welders.

Morrell says employers tell him they are in need of people with those two skills, in particular. He said he also wants to work with a local university to provide coding classes. To reinforce those workforce needs, Morrell said he also wants to launch a citywide literacy program called Marion Reads.

He says he would pattern it after the Westfield Youth Assistance Program, a nonprofit that does early interventions with at-risk youth, but focus primarily on literacy needs.

“One of the biggest things I hear from potential employers and even from potential citizens is they want to see our education improve,” he said. “We’re going to invest heavily into improving our education in the city so we can attract potential citizens and potential employers.”

Morrell has also said he wants to remove dilapidated buildings. When asked for details, he says he would like to set aside $500,000 from the city’s Economic Development Income Tax and remove as many such properties as he could. Morrell says he’s not opposed to using eminent domain to remove the buildings but he has not explored that option.

All INdiana Politics airs every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on WISH-TV.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.