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Tuesday, 24 August 2010 00:00

Morgan Hill: Science, and Politics

Story by Stacy Ericson

Morgan Hill is the Campaign Manager for the District 19 Coordinated Legislative Campaign. On the job since June, twenty-four-year old Morgan sees the three-pronged campaign as an opportunity to work with a dynamic team. “Cherie, Nicole, and Brian have very different experiences, backgrounds, ideas, and areas of expertise, but they have a lot in common as well,” he said in an interview on Friday.

  “All have strong ties to the community they represent, all three care deeply about what they do, and each of them have experiences that let them see issues from a larger perspective.  That kind of global vision makes this a job that is constantly interesting to me.”

Morgan Hill — photo by Stacy Ericson

 

A few years ago Morgan would not have predicted becoming immersed in politics. Growing up, the only thing Morgan wanted to do was to be a pilot. “Everyone thought I’d grow out of it, but I never did,” he says.  On the other hand, no one in his family in Curacao discouraged his ambitions.  “My parents were very supportive; they always acted as if flying was a perfectly normal idea. My grandfather used to take me to the airport and we’d just sit there for… maybe five hours, just watching the planes land and take off.”

In 1994 his family moved to the U.S.  Those first few years were difficult for Morgan.  “I was just starting second grade and English was my fourth
language.  It took me a while to catch up and get my bearings.”  In Curacao most people speak Dutch, Spanish, English, and Papiamentu.  The latter (Papiamentu) is the official language on the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao—a blend of French, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, the indigenous Arawak Indian language, with African influences.  “I had great English teachers in the E.S.O.L. program for foreign students while attending a public school in South Florida, and after about seven months I was up to speed and fluent in the English language.”

A strong interest in music plays a role in Morgan’s life and his recordings are popular on MySpace, however, aviation became the focus of his education. Today he has 321 hours of experience and is amassing flight time quickly. When asked how that vocation intersected with his current work in Idaho politics he answered, “It’s kind of funny, I always planned on going into the Space Program eventually in my life. When federal budget cuts hit NASA hard, I suddenly saw the connection between science and politics more than I had when I was younger,” he explains.

“We are looking at the last Space Shuttle flight towards the end of this year.  It is an era when other nations are gaining on the United States’ lead in research and development.  Most people don’t realize how much the space program has contributed to the technology we use every day; roller ball pens, MRI and CAT scans, GPS, cordless tools, Velcro, microprocessors…the list goes on and on.” De-funding for NASA has come from both sides of the aisle and this fueled Morgan’s ambition to get involved at a local level, hoping to start gaining the experience that will one day help him make a difference in Space Policy, science, and education.

“First I volunteered for T. J. Thomson’s Boise City Council campaign and met Kassie Cerami. Then she got me involved in Keith Allred’s campaign for Idaho Governor.” Before long, Morgan was serving as an intern on that campaign, moved into a paid staff position as Volunteer Coordinator for Ada County, and eventually filled in as a pilot on Allred’s travels.  Still full of enthusiasm for Allred’s work, Morgan was impressed with the candidate’s knowledge of Idaho while flying, “Sometimes I could just put away the map–he already knows the state just by sight.” Morgan’s growing skills qualified him for his present position as District 19’s campaign manager.

Asked about Cherie Buckner-Webb’s campaign for Legislative Seat A in District 19, Morgan nods.  “Wow, where to begin….,” he pauses to think. “She has spent nearly her entire life in Boise and grew up in the District.  When Cherie knocks on doors she knows so many people personally, knows their interests and their families.  That kind of connection is rare and with that background you can, literally, speak for the people you represent.”

What is next for Morgan Hill? “You wouldn’t think that campaign work would connect directly with an ambition to be a pilot & astronaut, but it does.  I want to go into the military; first I hope to earn a pilot slot with the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen field where they have my favorite plane,
the A-10 Warthog, and then either NASA, the airlines, or the Coast Guard.  The United States has given me a lot of opportunities, and I see military duty as a way to give back. Logistics and leadership are important to that kind of service and, let me tell you, working on campaigns teachs you about how to get things done, solve problems, and work with people—that involves both leadership and logistics.”

(above) Nicole LeFavour, Morgan Hill, Cherie Buckner-Webb, and Brian Cronin at Campaign Headquarters Open House event

Photo by Sing-Hung

(below) Morgan at work

 

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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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