A Cummins Inc. retiree will seek a third consecutive term on the Bartholomew County Council.
Jorge Morales, 73, was first elected in 2010 to represent District 4 on the council as a Republican.
During the primary that year, Morales defeated fellow GOP candidates Robert Sullivan and Aimee Martoccia. Six months later, he defeated Democrat Zack Ellison in the general election.
In the May 2014 primary, Morales defeated challengers Paul Nolting and Paul Franke for the Republican party nomination for the Bartholomew County Council District 4 councilman seat. That fall, Morales defeated Democrat Doug Memering to earn a second term.
In the spring of 2016, both Morales and Susan Thayer Fye challenged District 1 Bartholomew County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz. The incumbent won a narrow victory over Fye, with Morales coming in third during the Republican primary.
Over the past eight years, Morales earned a reputation as a fiscal conservative and efficiency advocate.
However, he became one of two GOP county council members to switch their positions by supporting a hike in the county’s local income tax last fall.
Morales said his perspective changed after spending time observing county employees doing their jobs, as well as recognizing the need to address the community’s growing opioid crisis.
Born in Cuba, Morales immigrated to Miami at the age of 15. That was in 1959, the same year Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba. As a result of the Cuban Revolution, his family lost everything, Morales said.
Entering the country on a student visa, Morales attended Purdue University and earned degrees in economics and history, as well as studying industrial management.
Upon being hired by what is now Cummins Inc., Morales spent 20 years in personnel, nine years in materials and one year in manufacturing services and security.
After retiring from the company in 2000, Morales remained active in the community by serving on a variety of nonprofit boards, service clubs, government and church organizations.
“During my tenure on the council, I have based my decisions on people, both employees and residents of the county, realizing that there are two sides to each issue,” Morales said in announcing his candidacy.
Bartholomew County Council District 4 includes Harrison, Ohio, Wayne, Jackson, and parts of Sandcreek townships, as well as northern and southern sections of Columbus.
Candidates in the 2018 election officially can file for office at the Bartholomew County Courthouse from Jan. 10 to Feb. 9.
Employment: Retired from Cummins, Inc. in 2000 after 30 years.
Political affiliation: Republican
Current office held: Bartholomew County Council, since 2011.
Other offices sought: County commissioner, District 1, in 2016. Defeated in GOP primary.
Appointed position: Served two years as president of the Bartholomew County Redevelopment Commission, as well as on the Greater Columbus Economic Board.
Wife: Melinda Morales