Kevin Murphy Candidate Profile
By: Christopher Kazarian
After serving six years as a selectman, Kevin E. Murphy of Dale Drive, North Falmouth, stepped down in 2009, in part because of his belief in term limits and allowing others to bring a fresh perspective to the board.
The past two years have allowed Mr. Murphy, owner of Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar and Restaurant in Woods Hole, a chance to recharge his batteries while continuing to give back to the community as a Town Meeting member and president of the Woods Hole Business Association.
The time away has made him realize just how valuable his years on the board were and how much he missed the opportunity to shape the community he lives in.
“Falmouth has been good to myself and my family,” he explained. “It is part of life that you want to give back.”
A voice for small business
It is his hope that next week voters give him a chance to do just that, once again, and elect him to one of two seats up for grabs on the board of selectmen.
He hopes to fill a void on the board as a voice for the small business owner, something that has been missing since Carey M. Murphy lost his bid for reelection last year.
“Small business is not represented on this board,” he said. “It needs a voice, someone to look out for their needs.”
While he stressed that that is not the sole view he holds, he touted his ability to meet payroll at his restaurant for the past 29 years, having to adjust to the cycles of the economy, which gives him a perspective to understand what other business owners are going through.
Mr. Murphy also highlighted his previous record as a selectman, and is proudest of his “ability to cross lines and talk to every person. Drawing a line in the sand doesn’t benefit anybody.”
This attitude helped selectmen develop a strong rapport with both the finance committee and the school committee during the formulation of the budget, he said.
Proactive during FHS renovation
He also was one of the board members who took a proactive approach with the Falmouth High School renovation, shortly after it was announced another $18.8 million was needed to finish the project in the spring of 2008.
As a result of that request, Mr. Murphy took the lead in giving selectmen and the town manager more control over the renovation, creating a memorandum of understanding that delineated specific steps that were required to move the project forward. “That provided a road map for accountability and success,” he said.
Tied to that memorandum was the requirement that two residents with construction industry experience be added to the Falmouth High School Building Committee. To fill this criteria, Mr. Murphy said he reached out to John K. Scanlan of Fernwood Drive, North Falmouth, and Patrick J. Callahan of Summit Lane, East Falmouth, who both accepted the offer to serve on the committee and get the project on track.
As he looked to the future, Mr. Murphy said he wanted to continue the town’s efforts to make drinking water and wastewater priorities while also addressing the town’s infrastructure needs.
He called on the town to build up its stabilization fund as a way to help fund some of these projects.
With drinking water, he said, Falmouth cannot afford another boil water order notice, referring to the situation last June.
And while wastewater will represent a generational solution, he said, the steps to clean up the town’s estuaries must start now.
“We can’t keep kicking the can down the road on any of these issues,” he said.
The next town manager, he said, will be key to solving these problems. He called for a leader who has strong communication skills, is inclusive, has a firm grasp on financial planning and is knowledgeable about Falmouth’s form of government.
“Those are rough roles to fill. In particular, we need superman or superwoman to fill the position, but just short of that we need someone who has some compassion,” he said.
A sense of humor
Even though the issues facing town are serious, Mr. Murphy said he would bring an affability and sense of humor to the board—his campaign slogan “Vote Big Again” pokes fun at his own weight—that he said is necessary.
“I think life is too short to not have fun,” he said.
It is this attitude, he said, that allows him to deal with those from all walks of life.
“I remember where I am from and how I got here,” he said, adding that he tries to treat everyone, regardless of stature, with a sense of fairness.
“You have to have some compassion and put yourself in the other guy’s shoes. You can’t do this job without serving everybody.”
And in this economy he understands that the public has a general fear and nervousness about their own personal situation, something he said he will take into consideration with every board vote.
His overarching goal is to continue to nurture the aspects that make Falmouth special, offering city-like amenities, from cultural activities to restaurants to events, while maintaining the small charm that makes it unique.
“There are plenty of things to do, but it is still small enough that there’s an intimacy when you walk into a store, shop or restaurant and you’ll know somebody,” he said.
“It is kind of like Cheers where everybody knows your name.”