Meet the Candidates: Rachel Tomas Morgan, South Bend Common Council At-Large

I was born in the Philippines. My immigrant story shapes who I am and how I will serve all citizens as a member of the South Bend Common Council.

My mother and I followed my father to the U.S. after he arrived with just $25 in his pocket. We lived in low-income housing in several locations until my parents settled in Ottawa, IL, a small town where we were the only Asian family. As a child, the America my family experienced was a country of dreams and opportunities.  We were successful immigrants because America welcomed us, supported us, and believed in us.

That’s the vision I want to help build in South Bend: a place that believes in its people and where opportunity is possible for everyone, in every neighborhood. Our continued growth will come through our neighborhoods and our connections with the people and places we see everyday.

For the past 27 years, South Bend has been my home. My husband Pete and I raised our two children here and worked hard to become engaged members of our community. I have served on the board of the Near West Side Neighborhood Organization for two decades, and I teach courses on poverty and development in the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame.

As a first-time candidate, I will bring a fresh perspective to the Common Council and skills honed throughout a lifetime of listening, collaborating, and working across difference. As an at-large representative, I will use my experience as a neighborhood leader and administrator to advocate for the interests of all neighborhoods and citizens throughout the six districts of the city. Every voice matters.

I will be bold. To maintain our forward movement, we must attract new businesses, youth, and talent while providing opportunities for our children and their children to stay or return. We must advance our growth and development with attention to both people and profit, all while also acting as responsible stewards of our planet.

I will be fair. To make South Bend more socially just and economically inclusive, city leaders must listen. The policies of city government should reflect community members’ priorities. Citizens should have agency to determine how these policies can best support and enhance their neighborhoods and their lives, from public health and housing to infrastructure and schools. We will move forward by working together for a prosperity that is shared.

I will be focused. I will advocate for data-driven, evidence-based approaches to decision-making and will commit to seeking input from all stakeholders. We need to build cross-sector partnerships to support our schools and keep our city safe.  We must build relationships of mutual respect and collaboration across city government so that we can serve the entire community fairly and responsibly.

I am proud to call South Bend home. I believe in South Bend.  And I truly believe that together we can build a South Bend where dreams are realized, opportunities are available to everyone, and where all can thrive.

Meet the Candidates is a series introducing candidates in their own words. South Bend Voice has offered to publish statements from all South Bend office seekers who are on the May 7th primary ballot. Statements are posted verbatim. Find out more about the candidates on the ballot at Vote411.org.

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