Kinston's first Republican mayor in more than a hundred years says he's not seeking re-election this year.
B.J. Murphy told WITN that his decision not to run is a re-dedication to his family and business.
The 32-year-old Murphy was elected in 2009 in a three-way race for mayor. When elected he was the city's youngest mayor.
Kinston will elect a mayor and two city council seats in November when the city conducts its first non-partisan election.
Mayor Murphy's Statement
Mayor Murphy Not to Seek Re-election
Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy, 32, the youngest mayor in Kinston’s history, has decided not to seek re-election this year although he will keep the Committee to Elect BJ Murphy open.
During his three years as mayor, BJ Murphy has been a strong advocate for non-partisan elections, 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.
In 2011, Mayor Murphy was named the Young Professional of the Year by the Lenoir County Young Professionals. In 2012, he was named an EA Morris Fellow, which accepts only 15 Fellows each year across the state.
Mayor Murphy helped organize the Eastern NC Mayors Association to collaborate and seek outside consultation on our city-owned utilities’ debts. He has continued to advocate that the Electricities members sell its generation assets in the power plants to help reduce our outstanding debt. He currently is partnering with the mayors of Greenville and Ayden to pursue the “Quad Cities” concept, an interstate loop in eastern NC.
Mayor Murphy has consistently engaged the citizens of Kinston and Lenoir County through his use of social media technology and town halls. During Hurricane Irene many residents learned of the damage and recovery efforts through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube posts and interactions. Each month Mayor Murphy has produced an e-newsletter through BJMurphy.org that now circulates among 600 subscribers.
During the heightened crime of 2011, Mayor Murphy led a community town hall on crime and gang violence, and continued those town halls within the Mitchelltown community. In late 2011, Murphy also hosted Graham Edwards, CEO of Electricities, and other city representatives for a town hall on electric issues. Each of these town halls ensured that residents were more informed on the issues, but also that the elected officials and professional staff were more in tune with the concerns of residents.
Mayor Murphy has also engaged the leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly. In June 2012, he helped stop a threatening local bill that would’ve raised Kinston utility rates by $1,000,000 as of July 1, 2012. Most recently, Mayor Murphy hosted the Speaker of the House Thom Tillis at a social event in Kinston. Representative John Bell and Senator Louis Pate were among the dignitaries.
Mayor Murphy cites his reasons for not running as a re-dedication to his family and business, “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.”
Mayor Murphy noted that working with our 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.”