ST. LOUIS — Jamey Murphy, who used to be Chief of Staff for former Sen. Jim Lembke, is running for office.
Murphy, a Republican, is running for Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger’s seat in St. Charles County, as the representative is running for state Senate in a race that likely will be the most contentious in 2014. In fact, Murphy says he already has received Gatschenberger’s endorsement.
The decision to pursue the House seat piggybacks on his past experiences in the legislature, Murphy says, as he wants to revisit the feeling of accomplishment that comes with contributing an idea that’s turned into policy.
“[While working for Lembke], I was able to lend an idea and some were adopted,” he says. “But when I got back out, the frustration set back over not having a real say in what’s going on. I don’t necessarily think we’re where we need to be and I have a lot of ideas of try to get us in the direction we need to be in.”
Passing “a bunch of” laws isn’t on Murphy’s agenda. Every law that is passed on a state or federal takes away a “little bit of liberty” from somebody, he says. Instead, he says he wants to place himself in the “gap between the people and the government” as an advocate.
“I want to focus on making sure we remain a people that has a constitution and has power and let our voices be heard,” he says. “That’s getting challenged every day.”
An example Murphy uses of a right being challenged is the use of drones to investigate certain operations like farming. Another example he lists is the implementation of a Healthcare Freedom Act.
Additionally, he says education is a concern, as some students from unaccredited schools in North St. Louis County are being transported to accredited districts like Francis Howell, a small part of which is in the House district he is running for.
“We are doing a disservice to our kids when you pull them out of their community to get an education,” he says. “Community is built around schools and churches. It’s not necessarily what is best for the kids. We really need to focus on empowering school boards.”
Murphy says education is an issue everyone wants to have an effect on when they run for office, and he is no different. However, one thing he believes is that creating a statewide, “cookie-cutter” solution to some problems isn’t the right way. Instead, school boards should have increased local control, he says.
If elected, Murphy says every vote would be measured on whether legislation is giving more liberty to people versus taking away rights.
“The first thing I’m going to do is measure with the Constitution and whether it gives power back to the people,” he says. “That is the foundation. Then, you want to make sure your community and its economy are solid.”
Murphy, 24, says he landed his full-time Chief of Staff job with Lembke during his junior year of college at Fontbonne University. Prior to that he says he spent a significant amount of time helping with his family’s small embroidery business. Campaign-wise, Murphy says he has been helping State Auditor Tom Schweich, predominantly driving, and used to work on Ed Martin’s campaign for Congress and campaign for attorney general.
Murphy currently helps out at a clock manufacturer in downtown St. Louis, which is a job he says he enjoys as it’s a small, niche business.
Murphy says the only person more excited about his race is his wife. He and his wife have a six-month old daughter, Lily Grace.
As of now, no one other than Murphy has announced interest in the seat from either side of the aisle, and he said he hasn’t heard of any names.
“It is really early, of course, but I did get the incumbent’s endorsement,” he says. “Plus, the district is overwhelmingly Republican.”
Ashley Jost is no longer with The Missouri Times. She worked as the executive editor for several months, and a reporter before that.