When voters in Easton and Brockton take to the polls on Nov. 6 to vote for a new State Representative in Easton and Brockton, Selectman Dan Murphy (R - Easton) hopes the perspective and experience he brings to the table will help him earn a spot on Beacon Hill.
"I’m not asking them to vote Republican," Murphy said. "I’m asking them to vote for me. I hope Unenrolleds and Democrats vote for me because they listen to what I’m talking about, they think the problems I want to address are important, and they see that I have the background, experience and specific proposals to address them. I would say: Forget about where somebody lives. Forget about the letter next to their name. At the end of the day, who do you think is going to be the best person to do this job?"
Murphy is looking to become a State Rep for the 11th Plymouth District, which makes up Precincts 1-5 in Easton and all of Ward 1, Ward 3-D, Ward 7-C and 7-D in Brockton.
His competition is Cosma Road neighbor Claire Cronin, who recently won a Democratic Primary with 33 percent of the vote over Brockton City Councilors Jass Stewart and Robert Sullivan and Southeastern Regional School Committee Chair Mark Linde.
Cronin won Easton convincingly and got the third most votes in Brockton.
While Cronin cites her experience as a mediator, Murphy touts his background in accounting and as part of the area's small business community - and also his experience in local government. He was recently re-elected as a Selectman and is serving his second year on the Board. Prior to that, he served on Easton's Finance Committee.
He is contending for the seat currently held by Geraldine Creedon, who announced her retirement last year. Creedon, a Brockton Democrat, has held the seat for 17 years. Her most recent win two years ago over Easton Republican Kristine Abrams, who swept the Easton precincts but fell short in Brockton.
While there is a minority of Republicans on Beacon Hill (Democrats currently outnumber Republicans 127-33), Murphy is hoping a win in the 11th Plymouth will bring more balance.
"In any group you need balance," he said. "That can only help. When one group – whatever group it is – dominates, healthy debate goes out the window. The more healthy debate we can have with the two sides is important.
Murphy said the most important issues that need tackling are jobs and the economy.
As an accountant who works with small business owners, he feels he has a unique perspective that most legislators on Beacon Hill don't have.
"I think the type of accountant [I am] – the fact that I deal with small businesses and people," he said. "Once a year I sit down and deal with people’s taxes. We talk about how their year was, what the economy is like for them, what their tax issues are, and I think that’s an important perspective. On the small business side, I think it’s important that I deal with small businesses because I hear from them."
Additionally, his role in local government has helped him foresee looming problems at the state and local level.
In particular, Murphy points to employee retirement costs in Easton and Brockton caused by rising health care costs, longer living retirees and a smaller work force paying into the system.
"Brockton has a $700 million retiree health cost liability," Murphy said. "Easton has a $100 million dollar unfunded retiree healthcare cost liability. That’s not Brockton or Easton’s fault – it’s universal in Massachusetts and something needs to be done about it. If there isn’t [something done about it], it’s going to be a real problem."
Murphy hopes to bring another voice to the discussion.
"There has to be some leadership at the state level," he said. "A commission has been formed that will present some ideas to the legislature. I think coming from my experience as Selectman I’ll be able to add quite a bit to that conversation. There’s got to be some fundamental change in the system in order to not hurt people. The goal is to keep the things the way they are for retirees but fix the system so it doesn’t go bankrupt for future retirees."
If elected, Murphy will continue to be a Selectman in Easton, he said.
He cites his role on Easton's Board as a strength and refutes critics who believe he'd be adding too much to his plate.
"I talked to Brad Jones who’s the minority leader at the beginning of this process," Murphy said. "When he first became a State Rep he was a Selectman and he served out his term and he thought it brought a valuable experience. You can get lost in Beacon Hill amongst what’s going on out there, but if you’re tied to the communities and you understand what’s going on at that level, I think that brings some perspective."
Additionally, Murphy feels his ties to Easton won't affect his ability to legislate for Brockton as well.
While he has spent most of his life in Easton, he is originally from Brockton.
"I was born in Brockton, went to Elementary School in Brockton, love Brockton and the issues that I’m talking about aren’t Brockton issues or Easton issues," he said. "They’re issues for everybody. The jobs issue doesn’t stop at the border of the Easton and Brockton line. The municipal liability issue is probably a bigger concern in Brockton than it is in Easton just because of it’s sheer size."
Murphy also hopes to provide local aid to both Easton and Brockton - a priority outlined on his website, saying it is "the key to providing jobs for police, fire fighters, and teachers."
In terms of addressing Easton's schools, he is sure to point out that education is not a Democratic issue.
"I think the formula for education, the Chapter 70 formula, would have to be addressed," he said. "To think that education is a Republican or Democratic issue is ridiculous. I have a daughter across the street at Moreau Hall. Believe me, education is important to me and every other Republican I know.
"I think the more decisions we can make on a local level – I think that might be the distinction between us. I would like decisions being made locally to understand their specific issues and specific problems are more important than from a Federal perspective or even a State perspective."
While he is hoping to bring more aid to the district, he is hoping the South Coast Rail stays out of the Shovel Town.
Murphy has expressed opposition a train through Easton since his initial run for Selectman. At the State level, he questions whether the MBTA can handle extension.
"I think they’re overextending themselves at a time when they’re in a lot of trouble and that would be my continued position," he said. "I don’t think this is an economically feasible project for the government right now."
Between the train, employee retirement costs, jobs, the economy and local aid there is no shortage of issues.
"I think there are some big issues to address and we need to address them," he said.