Kiah Morris

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Kiah Morris
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
from the Bennington 2-2 district
In office
January 7, 2015 – September 25, 2018
Preceded byAnne Lamy Mook
Succeeded byJim Carroll
Personal details
Ruqaiyah Khadijah Morris

(1976-03-14) March 14, 1976 (age 45)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)James Lawton
ResidenceBennington, Vermont
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign (BA)

Ruqaiyah Khadijah "Kiah" Morris (born March 14, 1976) is an American politician who formerly served as a member of the Vermont House of Representatives for the Democratic Party.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Chicago, Morris earned a B.A. in Gender Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a graduate degree from Roosevelt University.[1]

Political career[edit]

Morris was first elected in 2014 alongside longtime Republican representative Mary A. Morrissey.[2] The two were reelected in 2016 after running unopposed.[3] The only African American woman in the state legislature, Morris announced in August 2018 that she would not seek reelection to a third term following a campaign of racist threats against her and her family.[4] She resigned the following month,[5][6] citing as an additional factor the desire to focus on her husband's recovery from open-heart surgery.[7][8]

Morris has also served as director of the Alliance for Community Transformations, based in Bennington.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

Date Election Candidate Party Votes %
Vermont House of Representatives, Bennington 2-2 district
Nov 4, 2014[10] General Mary A. Morrissey Republican 1,241 42.49
Kiah Morris Democratic 873 29.89
Joann Erenhouse Democratic 797 27.29
Write-Ins 10 0.33
Anne Lamy Mook did not seek reelection; seat stayed Democratic
Nov 8, 2016[11] General Mary A. Morrissey Republican 2,143 54.61
Kiah Morris Democratic 1,757 44.78
Write-Ins 24 0.61

Personal life[edit]

Morris is married to James Lawton.[5] They have a son.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Representative Ruqaiyah 'Kiah' Morris". Vermont General Assembly. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Whitcomb, Keith (November 5, 2014). "Kiah Morris, Mary Morrissey win Bennington State House 2-2". Bennington Banner. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  3. ^ Therrien, Jim (November 10, 2016). "Keefe edges out incumbent Berry in Bennington-4 House race; Browning re-elected". VTDigger. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Lindholm, Jane; Rosen, Sam Gale (August 30, 2018). "Rep. Kiah Morris Details 'Pervasive' Threats, Decision To Withdraw From Election". Vermont Public Radio. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Flynn, Meagan (January 15, 2019). "A white nationalist's harassment helped force a black female lawmaker to resign. He won't face charges". Washington Post. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  6. ^ Baker, Vicky (January 18, 2019). "Kiah Morris case: How far do free speech protections go in the US?". BBC News. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Black Vermont lawmaker Kiah Morris resigns following threats". CBS News. September 26, 2018. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  8. ^ Stack, Liam (September 26, 2018). "Black Female Lawmaker in Vermont Resigns After Racial Harassment". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Carson, Derek (August 18, 2016). "Vermont legislators react strongly to 'racist' tweet at Bennington's Rep. Kiah Morris". The Berkshire Eagle. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "VT Elections Database – 2014 State Representative General Election – Bennington 2-2 District". Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "VT Elections Database – 2016 State Representative General Election – Bennington 2-2 District". Vermont Secretary of State. Retrieved September 28, 2018.

External links[edit]