Joe Murphy is running for Vadnais Heights city council as an incumbent. I worked with Joe Murphy when he was a assistant at Ramsey County. I found him to be smart and practical, with sound financial sense. He is one of those people that I always hope that we have in political office. Here are Murphy’s answers to our standard questions:
1) What is your background?
I grew up in Shoreview, graduated from Totino Grace High School in 1988 and then graduated from Bethel University with a Bachelor’s degree in political Science in 1993. After graduation, I went to work in the financial services business where I am presently a senior representative with Comprehensive Financial Resources. I married my wife Sarah in 2000 and we have lived in Vadnais Heights since 1999 with our yellow lab Lily. I worked as the Principle Assistant to Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett from 1997 until 2012 and I have been a member of the Vadnais Heights City Council since being elected in 2006. I am currently the senior council member, member of the finance committee, and acting mayor. In my free time I am a volunteer on two local non-profit boards in our area. I am a Trustee on the Merrick Inc. Board of Trustees where we help developmental disabled adults find meaningful work in our community. I am also a board member on the Northeast Youth and Family Services board which helps provide teenagers and young adults with metal health counseling services in the White Bear Lake, Roseville, and Mounds View school districts.
2) What are the three main issues or values that are key to your campaign?
The three biggest issues before our city are:
• continuing to develop and redevelop our city in a thoughtful way that brings new residents into Vadnais Heights
• continuing to hire competent, qualified, highly educated professionals that work with the city council
• ensuring policies and procedures that treat all of our residents equally regardless of how long a resident has lived in town or whom they know
Also, we must continue to add senior housing facilities into our mix of housing options. I have been a strong advocate for our first ever senior housing project the Gable Pines that is currently being constructed on Co Rd. E. and will open in August of 2015.
3) Who is your political hero and what qualities would you strive to emulate?
My political hero is my former boss Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett. Tony is a good and decent person that always treated people fairly and with respect. He was the best example I know as a true public servant to his community.
4) Since the politics involves negotiation of competing interests, please give an example where you successfully negotiated a difficult problem among multiple parties.
My best example of an issue where we had to bring multiple parties together to get something done our the Gable Pines senior housing project. We had opposition from the adjoining neighborhood as well as the neighboring community and it also included working with multiple businesses on a land swap to get the best location for the project.
5) Please provide an example where you stood up for people or for rights against a powerful organization.
I was part of a team of residents that stood up to the corrupt Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher by publically supporting Matt Bostrom for Ramsey County Sheriff. As anyone who knows Ramsey County politics, knows that Bob Fletcher is the biggest bully and we beat him 58% to 42%.
6) Please tell us why your campaign is better choice (i.e. more organized, works harder, works smarter) with specifics?
I am running for re-election because I like to help people get things done. My opponent is now former Ramsey County sheriff Bob Fletcher who is only running as he has said many times to elected officials, labor leaders, and residents so the Mr. Murphy loses. He is a vindictive person who does not like to be challenged. Over the years as Ramsey County Commissioner Tony Bennett’s assistant I challenged him at a staff level and very publicly as a council person in Sheriff Bostrom in election in 2010. I have over 200 signs up, and by election day I will have either mailed, insert into the local paper, and or drop 20,000 pieces of positive campaign literature, and I will have also knocked on more doors that all of the three other candidates combined.
7) Please tell us how you as an elected official or your campaign would help other DFL endorsed candidates get into office?
I have been endorsed by Congresswomen Betty McCollum, Ramsey County Sheriff Matt Bostrom, Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, State Representative Jason Isaacson and White Bear Lake School Board member Don Mullin. I have worked closely with all of these elected officials and continue to do so during this re-election cycle. I have been also endorsed by each of the trades and labor professions, along with the public employee unions.
8) How would you keep your constituents informed about issues and what you are doing?
As a council member I am the most active member of the Vadnais Heights City Council attending most if not all of our public meetings and civic events throughout the year. I regularly write informational articles in the Vadnais Heights press to our residents and have been featured many times in our city newsletter communicating city policy to the residents. I like to keep in touch with our residents. I believe strongly that it is a big part of being a council member.