Steve Lawrence, an adjunct instructor at Walters State Community College who has a multi-faceted employment history and a broad range of academic accomplishment, is running in the May 7 Morristown municipal election to represent Ward 4 on the Morristown City Council.
Some were born in Morristown. Some have Morristown thrust upon them. Lawrence belongs to a third group – those who chose to live here only because it’s the place he most wants to live. Lawrence and his wife, Irene, moved to Morristown three-and-a-half years ago after spending six weeks in a family member’s basement in New Tazewell while looking for a house.
“We chose East Tennessee to live, but we didn’t know Morristown,” Lawrence said. “We fell in love with this city and when there were open seats on the county commission, I was asked if I wanted to run. I said ‘no,’ but I would look at running for council. I’m fiscally conservative and I support some social issues.
“I did not want to run representing a party,” he added. “I like the flexibility of not having that label … I’ve worked in government and I have the education and training to do this job. I’ve got the skills, and I really want to offer that to people here.”
At WSCC, Lawrence is assistant director of Recruiting Hispanics to Achieve Project, a program that encourages Latinos to pursue career goals through secondary education.
Since moving to Morristown, Lawrence was named to the Crossroads Downtown Partnership. If elected to council, he says, he will continue to focus on different ways to increase interest in downtown Morristown, particularly on establishing a children’s museum.
The candidate says that as he’s been campaigning, one of the top three concerns is drugs. Lawrence says he supports establishing a “see-something, say-something” program that has outreach to Morristown’s white, black and Latino communities.
While funding the jail is the province of county government, Lawrence says city council should do what it can to reduce crime.
Similarly, Lawrence says, Morristown residents should be encouraged to volunteer in the Hamblen County school system. Lawrence says he also supports civics courses for adults to help explain how local government works.
“Faith and family are important parts of the community, and I want to see that be recognized,” Lawrence said. “I want people to freely be able to express their opinions.
Lawrence, who was born in a suburb of New York City, studied mathematics at Columbia State University in NYC and marketing at Regis University in Denver before earning masters of public administration – with an emphasis in local government – and a bachelor of arts in political science and international studies at the University of Colorado at Denver.
The candidate began his professional career at marketing manager at McDonnell Douglas and later worked in information technology. While serving as regional manager at Ciber Inc. in Denver, he managed 760 employees in 12 states and later managed more than 200 staff members at Manpower Professionals.
He has also worked in the census division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, as a legislative intern assistant in the Colorado Senate.
He and his wife joined the U.S Peace Corps in March 2014 and for 27 months served as education volunteers in Jamaica.