As a fourth generation New Hanover County native, Democrat Robert Murray served 20 years in the army and returned to Porters Neck where he continues to run his family’s farm and volunteer with the fire department.
Along with running his one-man mobile lawnmower repair service, he’s also running in his first political race for county commissioner. As he told WHQR’s Sara Wood, it began as an everyday conversation with friends.
"It’s kind of funny. We were standing around one day, we were kind of complaining about things that were going on, as people do. And my buddy looked at me and said ‘You better put up or shut up.’ I said, ‘Well, if I put up are you going to help me?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ So I went down to register to run and went back down to paper in front of him and said, ‘OK, I put up and now it’s your turn.’ He said OK and he’s helping me out with it.”
Murray says he’s a conservative democrat who believes there are two ways to look at spending: Do we need it, or do we want it? He gives the expansion of Cape Fear Community College as an example, asking if building is absolutely necessary.
“Or, is it something we can wait a couple of years and maybe save some money up and go from there and build in a couple of three years. I’m not cutting Cape Fear College, but I mean I was just using them as an example of being able to build. Do we need it, do we want it?”
Murray believes county funds should be spent on public services first, like water, sewer and fire instead of investments like a proposed baseball stadium in Wilmington – leave that to private investors, he says. Another big issue is the Titan Cement plant, although he will not comment on his position.
“I’m continuing to gather information from different resources, different areas, so I can go back and review and when it does come up I can ask the right questions to find out whether it would be a viable or not be a viable operation in the Castle Hayne area.”
Murray says the board has traditionally been filled with white collars. Maybe, he says, it’s time for a common working man.