Mayor Murphy Announces Re-election Bid for 2017

Thank you, family and friends, for your attendance today.

A little more than six months ago, our beloved community was faced with a calamity like it had never seen before. Flood waters were rising and threatening to destroy our city when I and other leaders stood on the picnic table just a few yards away and prayed in unison. Our community banded together in a way that it has never done before. Neighbors helped neighbors, and we were one people with only mission in mind: recover from this awful flood.

There is still much work to be done in the aftermath of those frightening times, and we must not forget our friends, business owners and neighbors who are still struggling. But there are many successes to celebrate following those terrible times, including the re-opening of nearly every business that was affected and the continued support of federal and state agencies in rebuilding.

Similarly, the City of Kinston has faced two devastating decades of declining population and a shrinking tax base. But through the sheer determination of forward-looking entrepreneurs, a steady manufacturing base, an engaged civic community, sound policies and teamwork at every level of city government, Kinston is in the beginning stages of an economic comeback that many didn’t think was possible a decade ago. We are doing the impossible.

Our community is experiencing a Renaissance right before our very eyes. Our downtown is bustling, professional baseball is back, crime is down and momentum is on our side. The past seven-plus years have seen a reduction in electric rates, more streets resurfaced and the removal of blight.

And although we are making incredible strides engaging our youth, business community, religious leaders and civic institutions, I promise you the BEST is YET to COME!

Serving my hometown as your mayor has been one of the greatest honors of my life. It has been my goal to make life better for every single person who resides within these city limits, and I have worked hard day and night to make that goal a reality.

As a husband and father of two girls, I have a vested interest in creating and facilitating an environment so that our community thrives. My girls, your children, and your grandkids deserve the absolute best that our community can provide.

Therefore, today I am announcing that I am seeking a third term as the Mayor of the City of Kinston.

Friends, supporters, and others can engage my campaign via our newly redesigned website at www.murphyformayor.com and connect via social media with @bjmurphy360.

Lastly, we ask for your prayers for our family, this campaign, and our beloved City of Kinston.

KFP: Murphy, Swinson, Whittington take seats as mayor, city council during ceremony

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer

Published: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 20:35 PM.

Three candidates who won positions in Kinston’s municipal elections last month received their coronation during the last meeting of 2013.

At Monday’s regular meeting, B.J. Murphy was sworn in for a second term as Kinston mayor, while Robbie Swinson and Wynn Whittington took the oath of office as members of the city council.

Murphy was reelected as Kinston mayor, with Swinson and Whittington receiving the most votes for the city council.

Murphy said the major focus shouldn’t be on the members being elected, but on what they can provide for the citizens in Kinston.

“Being in office is not about me or the next person,” Murphy said. “It is about the service that we render to the people. My plan tonight (was) to expand the slogan found in our city seal, which is, Forward in Prosperity.”

Murphy said he is thankful to have the opportunity to serve Kinston for a second term as mayor.

“It certainly is an honor,” Murphy said. “I’m going to challenge our citizens, our staff, our council and myself to seek that prosperity that our community deserves. Our responsibility is to instill hope. When people say, ‘I’m from Kinston,’ I want them to say it with pride. The comeback starts with us.”

Swinson, who was elected to his third term as councilman, said the swearing-in ceremony was exciting, but paled in comparison to his inaugural one in 2005.

“It’s hard to compete with the first time,” Swinson said.

Swinson said he’s appreciative of the voters wanting to keep the consistency going with the council.

“The community believes in myself and B.J.,” Swinson said. “They believe the city is moving in the right direction, which is a plus having the support of the community. I’m truly thankful for the voters.”

Paul Jones, senior resident of the Superior Court Judge for North Carolina, presided over the ceremony. Jones said the continuity of Murphy and Swinson was a good thing.

“The city has stability here,” Jones said. “The council has done a good job and that’s what people are looking forward to.”

Jones also had positive words for Whittington, as he has had interactions with the newcomer in years past as a Lenoir County school board attorney.

“Wynn is a career educator and should be a welcome addition to the council,” Jones said. “He has educated a lot of children here as a teacher and principal at Kinston High School.”

Whittington, who received the most votes for city council and will be taking Bobby Merritt’s seat, said he is excited and ready to work.

“I’m looking for the opportunity to serve the community, and work with the existing council, mayor and manager to move Kinston forward,” Whittington said. “I’m humbled and appreciative of the voters, who instilled the confidence in me to serve them. It hasn’t hit me until (Monday), but it’s starting to come to fruition and I can’t wait.”

City Manager Tony Sears said each swearing-in ceremony is special, whether it is in Kinston or any place else.

“It’s a very special time in American history,” Sears said. “Across the nation, people are being sworn in as proof that democracy works and leaders are elected by a majority vote. It’s a beautiful thing.”

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/murphy-swinson-whittington-take-seats-as-mayor-city-council-during-ceremony-1.243259?tc=cr

WNCT: Kinston mayor takes oath

WNCT
Posted: Dec 02, 2013 9:50 PM EST
Updated: Dec 02, 2013 9:50 PM EST
By WNCT STAFF – email

KINSTON, N.C. -Mayor B.J. Murphy took the oath of office for a second term Monday night.

Murphy won the election with a little over 46% percent of the total votes.

He urged people to be proactive in the Kinston community.

Kinston’s youngest mayor is also the first Republican mayor in 140 years.

http://www.wnct.com/story/24117389/kinston-mayor-takes-oath

WITN7: Three Candidates Vying For Kinston Mayor

by Lindsey Fry

 

Kinston residents have three candidates to choose from in the race for mayor.

BJ Murphy, who’s running for re-election, faces challengers Ralph Clark and John Marks.

Mayor Murphy says he wasn’t going to run for re-election, but decided to after persistence from his family and members of the community. He says he wants to continue the economic progress in the city.

Murphy says, “I’m an experienced leader with proven results. Take a ride around this community, the night life is coming back, buildings are being redeveloped.”

Candidate Ralph Clark, a former city manager of Kinston, says he decided to run when he first heard Mayor Murphy was not going to run again. He says if elected, his first goal will be controlling city taxes and utility fees.

Clark says, “If you look at my experience at the things over the years in trying to have an understanding in local government. But also I’ve shown leadership skills over the years. And not only in the city government, but I’ve been a leader in national organizations, state organizations, churches, everywhere I’ve been I’ve served in some kind of leadership role.”

Candidate John Marks, a local pastor in Kinston, says his lack of experience in local government is what makes him the best choice.

Marks says “They are in city government. They’re on the inside looking out. I’m on the outside looking in. We do need plenty of jobs here in Kinston, a foundation for people to work. Some people are looking for work, we know that unemployment is still high, but we need to bring in businesses that will create jobs and have our people back at work.”

Early voting continues through November 2nd. Election day is November 5th.

http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Three-Candidates-Vying-For-Kinston-Mayor-229025881.html

 

KFP: Kinston mayoral candidates take center stage

KFP1016_mayoralforum_1

Mayoral candidate Ralph Clark, left, makes his opening statements, while John Marks, center, and B.J. Murphy listen at the mayoral forum Tuesday at community television station TACC-9 on Queen Street.

Sara Pezzoni / The Free Press

Kinston’s three candidates for mayor each had their lone opportunity to address viewers on the issues of the city on Tuesday evening.

Ralph Clark, John Marks and B.J. Murphy spoke at the TACC-9 community television station for a mayoral forum, as the three are looking to be appointed into office by the people after the Nov. 5 election.

Clark, who has spent 32 years in public office, including eight as the former city manager of Kinston, believes his extensive experience and knowledge would be vital in helping the community he has called home since 1999.

“Kinston has been great to me as a city manager and a citizen,” Clark said. “I have a lot to give, and hope (the city) allow(s) me to be the mayor.”

Clark also talked about education in his opening statement, acknowledging that the city council would not be able to intervene in the decision-making process.

“I would be remiss not to mention something about education,” Clark said. “Even though the city has nothing to do with the education in the community, it has to be supported.”

Marks, the pastor and founder of Increasing the Faith Ministries, believes Kinston needs to move in an alternate direction in fixing some of the issues in the community.

“We do need change,” Marks said. “Everybody that I ask or come in contact with, they are always saying that the city needs to be changed. I’m just grateful that our city and the leadership that is present are still doing things, but we still need solutions to a lot of problems. I just want to be an improvement on assets to the city of Kinston.”

Murphy, the incumbent seeking his second term in office, used his opening statement to speak on some of the positives he has seen in Kinston since he became the mayor in 2009.

“I have never been more excited about the opportunities before our community than I am right now,” Murphy said. “Our community is growing, and there are a lot of positive things happening. Just over the past four years, we have had a major focus on redeveloping our community, on making sure we have better streets, and we’ve had a more accountable government than ever before.”

Early voting starts on Thursday, and will run until Nov. 2, with Election Day on Nov. 5.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

For more information on reruns of the city council and mayor forums, visit tacc9.com.

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/kinston-mayoral-candidates-take-center-stage-1.219056?tc=cr

KFP: Murphy leads in campaign contributions

By Junious Smith III / Staff Writer 

With Election Day 33 days away, in the Kinston mayor race the incumbent has a huge advantage — at least when it comes to campaign contributions.

Mayor B.J. Murphy has outraised and outspent his two competitors — Ralph Clark and John Marks — looking to unseat him by considerable margins.

In a 35-business day reporting period from July 29 to Sept. 24, Murphy received $12,083.56, including $9,698.56 in contributions from individuals. He spent $10,089.71 during that timeframe.

In comparison, Clark received $4,570.58 and spent $2,881.15. Marks’ numbers are not known, but it’s because he hadn’t filed his receipts and expenditures with the Board of Elections. BOE supervisor Barbara Hammonds said Marks has received and spent significantly less than the other two candidates.

“If the candidate doesn’t go over $1,000 whether it comes to expenditures or contributions, they don’t have to make a report,” Board of Elections Supervisor Barbara Hammonds said.

Murphy felt the amount of money he’s received over his campaign has been a reflection of the citizens of Kinston agreeing with what he stands for in the upcoming election.

“What seems very clear over the number of donations and the amount is that my message of continuing policies putting Kinston in right direction for growth is catching on with the voters,” Murphy said. “We have a campaign centered on engaging the community, having frank discussions on issues and promoting growth on development. All of those points are resonating with the city of Kinston.”

Murphy, in his third mayoral campaign (he won in 2009 after losing in 2005), said his significant Internet presence has also played a role in receiving contributions. As of Wednesday, the incumbent had 4,993 friends on Facebook, 1,244 likes on his “Mayor B.J. Murphy” Facebook page and 978 Twitter followers.

Neither Clark nor Marks had a Twitter account as of Wednesday afternoon. Marks has 341 friends on Facebook and Clark has 126 likes on his “Ralph Clark for Mayor” Facebook page.

Murphy believes social networks are a great outlet to reaching the public.

“To the average person in community, whether they’re struggling to get by or have had moderate success in business, they seem to be connecting with my message of keeping Kinston on right track and continuing the leadership we currently have at City Hall,” Murphy said.

Clark said he hadn’t been focused on the amount of money being spent by his opponents, with his focus strictly on the race.

“We all have different ways of trying to reach the voting public,” Clark said. “I’m not sure if money spent always gives an advantage.”

Clark, a former Kinston City Manager, recently created a Facebook page, but said he has spent much more time interacting with people offline to make a name in the community.

“I’ve had to attend a lot of events and personal handshaking, so people can connect a face to the name,” Clark said. “The mayor started a long time ago with his Facebook pages and he uses technology well. I just opened a Facebook when I filed for mayor and have had it for three months, while he started networking with it five years ago. I’m just trying to make up ground with personal appearances.”

Clark believes the city is listening to what he has to say and giving a warm reception.

“The public has received me and my message very well,” Clark said. “I’m not making any promises other than to work hard. I always tell people, my first line of business is to get the city council to work with my agenda, because if they won’t, it’s hard to make things happen. I also tell them I do have experience and ideas I can bring to the table to make Kinston a better place to live.”

Marks hasn’t spent or received nearly as much as the other candidates, but said he has been doing his part to make himself better known in Kinston.

“I’ve been doing a little footwork, putting signs out and talking to people in the community concerning nonpartisan voting,” Marks said. “I tell them to vote with their heart, and hopefully, they’ll vote for me. I’ve been passing out flyers, getting people to do early voting and have people in place to help spread the word.”

Marks said he may not have a huge social following either, but believes his friends on Facebook will help get his message across.

“Out of that 300, they might have 1,000 or 2,000 friends that will let them know about me as well,” Marks said.

Board of Elections Director Dana King said she thinks the mayoral race will be very interesting.

“Having three mayoral candidates is kind of big, especially when there are only nine precincts in Kinston who can vote for them,” King said.

 

Junious Smith III can be reached at 252-559-1077 andJunious.Smith@Kinston.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JuniousSmithIII.

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 21:52 PM.