Murphy keeps election committee alive, but says family, business come first
B.J. Murphy with, from right, wife Jessica,and daughters Kathryn and Gracyn. Murphy said Tuesday he would not run for re-election this year in order to devote more time to his family and business.
Kinston’s first Republican mayor since Reconstruction announced today that he would not seek re-election this year in the city’s first non-partisan vote.
BJ Murphy, 32, said he would keep the Committee to Elect BJ Murphy open, though he did not specify his future political plans.
In a statement released this morning, Murphy framed his decision not to run as a “re-dedication to his family and business.” He said, “My family has sacrificed time with me so that I could give back to my hometown. We have simply decided that although I have a calling to serve, my family and business career need me more right now.”
The mayor’s job and two city council seats are on the November ballot.
As a political activist making his second run at elective office (he lost the mayor’s race to Buddy Ritch in 2005), Murphy won the mayor’s post in 2009 in a three-way race that pitted him against two political veterans, former Lenoir County commissioner Earl Harper and former city council member Jimmy Cousins. He was the city’s youngest mayor and one of the youngest mayors in the state.
Murphy listed a number of accomplishments during his term, including the legal fight that finally convinced the U.S. Department of Justice to allow Kinston to move from a partisan election system, where candidates run under party labels, to a non-partisan system. That fight was actually waged by a group of residents without the city’s direct support, but Murphy did advocate for a nonpartisan system in his campaign and in the years since.
Murphy also said as mayor he actively pursued regional partnerships for economic development, led efforts to challenge the status quo in the public power business, supported increased street resurfacing funding, vocalized support for pro-active community policing, and encouraged ongoing demolition and community re-development efforts.
Murphy noted that working with youth has been the most fulfilling role as mayor. “Speaking to our elementary, middle and high school kids has been a highlight during my tenure as mayor. Also, participating in the recognition of our community’s Eagle Scouts has been an incredible honor. Kinston and Lenoir County have a bright future as long as its parents and civic leaders continue to pour love and good morals in our youth.”