If you live in the Seminole County city of Longwood in Central Florida and hear a knock at your door.
It could be Matt Morgan.
That’s because the former WWE and TNA Impact pro wrestler is looking to unseat District 4 Commissioner Mark Weller in a Nov. 7 election. The 7-footer formally announced his candidacy on Aug. 25 at 11:47 a.m. just before the Noon deadline.
Since then Morgan has hit the ground running...well...walking the neighborhoods and pressing the flesh. The budding civil servant is dedicated to making a difference.
“Enough of the citizens over the last five years have been asking me to run,” he said. “That combined with giving back to all these other cities during my career, I wanted to do it with my own city and take it where it needs to be. As a commissioner, you have an opportunity to have somewhat of a say by doing the job of listening to the people. They have gotten away from that. Not all commissioners, but my opponent for sure has.
“…You need a non-politician in office. That’s what we need. Someone who can keep these guys straight. Somebody whose vote can’t be bought. Someone whose vote can’t be swayed. You can have your own ideas. I’m not saying you don’t, but your job is to be the vehicle for the citizens and their opinions and see what their opinions are and then vote on their behalf. It’s the citizen’s opinions.”
Some of Morgan’s top concerns include the Longwood police and fire departments.
“Our police department right now is dubbed the safest city in all of Seminole County,” Morgan said. “That’s huge. You would think these guys would get a raise. Nope. Two-and-a-half years ago they got a pay reduction. When I heard that, my jaw hit the ground. So, we are the safest city in all of Seminole County, and we pay them back by deducting their pay? It didn’t make any sense, and nobody could give me an answer.
“Our fire department was flooded four times in the last four months. I put it on my Instagram live video when I visited a few weeks ago. There was a downpour. It was a foot high. A foot high just from a normal downpour. Not Hurricane Irma. I have ideas to get them the heck out of there where it’s safer for them. They’ve outgrown that place to begin with, but with the flooding, I’ve got to get them out of there.”
Rain or shine, it has been a busy grassroots campaign for the 41-year-old. Morgan recalled a recent afternoon where he spent three hours outside while it was pouring.
He said: “I was soaked. I ruined my shoes. To me, it was worth it because those citizens who drove by in the busiest section of my city saw what I’m willing to do to win this election.
“Just like me as a pro wrestler. The argument I get is that I was successful as a pro wrestler because I’m 7-feet, 300 pounds. I can see that getting me in the door, but what always made me successful was the ability to outwork people. Whether it was in the gym, my dieting, cutting promos in the mirror every day I would wake up early in my career. Whatever it took to outwork people. I have a certain work ethic.
“All I’m doing is taking that over to this. School was the same way. It’s the one thing you can control in life. You can control how hard you work at something. Once it started raining my campaign manager asked me to get out of there because he couldn’t risk me being sick knocking on doors the next day. I responded, ‘Even if I do get sick, I’ll work on through it.’ I did catch a cold, but I still worked the next two days knocking on doors. It was to show the citizens there is nothing I won’t do for them.”
Morgan isn’t the first wrestler to transition into politics. Jesse Ventura became mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn. and years later the Governor of that state. Within Florida, Brian Blair, one-half of the WWE tag team the Killer Bees, secured a commission spot for Hillsborough County.
“It is great Matt has decided to serve the public,” Blair said. “Wrestling is a great background to politics because politics is a ‘full contact’ endeavor.”
Given his wealth of knowledge gained from his experiences in government, the veteran has two important pieces of advice for Morgan.
“Always be honest and be a good listener,” said Blair, president and CEO of the Cauliflower Alley Club.
Glenn Jacobs, known by wrestling fans as Kane in WWE, made a similar decision to enter the political arena. He is currently running for mayor of Knox County, Tenn.
“Glenn was kind enough to work with me when I was still developing at Ohio Valley Wrestling, the developmental territory for WWE,” Morgan said. “It’s where I honed my craft. I had good conversations with him. We share this desire to want to be public servants to serve our community the best way we can. I always saw wrestling as a vehicle for something bigger down the road that would help people. I could never put my finger on what that was though. At first, I thought was for ADD because I have CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention -Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), so I became the keynote speaker for CHADD (Children and Adults living with Attention Deficit Disorder). Then I thought it was for others.
“As I kept going, I thought why does it have to be one cause. So, I just kept going and reaching out to help the best way I can and be a role model for people. When this opportunity came up, I jumped all over it. That’s what I did here. I want to serve the people. I think Glenn wants to do that as well, taking fame form wrestling and using it for good.”
Morgan is grateful for his family’s support. Mom made a shirt with “I Am Matt Morgan’s Mom” that she wears waving a campaign sign.
“My wife has helped out. My son even has his own T-shirt,” he said. “I love it. It might sound corny, but I like getting to know the citizens. The more I talk to them the more I see wrong with Longwood. I’m not going to claim I have the magic answer. But I do have a plan in place and putting public safety first and foremost. I got a plan in place.
“…I love to prove naysayers wrong. It’s something I’ve enjoyed my entire life. It gives me that charge and excitement that I got to work that much harder.”
Follow Matt Morgan on Twitter @BPMattMorgan.
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