Minnesota DFL’er, governor hopeful visits Times
Former Majority Leader of the House of Representatives Erin Murphy is in the run for the governor seat in 2018 and hopes to build the state’s future by focusing on healthcare, pre-kindergarten education, broadband and transportation. Murphy, a registered nurse and DFL’er, paid the Times a visit to talk about her candidacy and keen interest in helping greater Minnesota thrive.
Murphy graduated from high school in Janesville, Wisconsin and received her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She earned her master’s in organizational leadership in health care a year later at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul and attended the Humphrey Institute at the University of Minnesota as a policy fellow the following year.
A former executive director of the Minnesota Nurses Association, former community relations director for the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning, and former operating room nurse at the U of M Medical Center, Murphy continued to serve the health care area after she was elected into the House of Representatives. After first being elected for the House in 2006, Murphy was then re-elected for four additional terms and served as the Majority Leader for the DFL after the 2012 elections. She announced her candidacy for Governor in November 2016.
Jess Bengtson, Times’ Assistant Editor: What would be your focus areas if you were elected?
Erin Murphy, gubernatorial candidate: I’d like to build Minnesota’s future, improve people’s lives and focus on the core building blocks. One area would be healthcare as I’m a nurse and I want to see not only affordable healthcare, but propose to open Minnesota Care for anyone who wants to buy in. I’d like to put the power of healthcare back into the hands of doctors and nurses, they’re the ones that provide the care. A strong investment in education and pre-k is also important for our communities. They need it to be reliable and durable.
JB: Tell me more about the push for better early childhood education.
EM: Early pre-k education for four-year-olds would ideally be a full day, play-based and voluntary for families so they can make a choice of where they want their children to go. We want to close the achievement gap for our youngest learners. I’d like to open up education while kids are at home and invest early with home visits with head start and pre-k in our schools. I’ve worked with Minnesota’s Teachers of the Year and have been guided through their thinking.
JB: What are you hoping to do for rural Minnesota, if elected?
EM: We need to remember when you get elected to spend time with people in the whole state and not just the metro area. The rural area is not the model and the metro area is not the model for the entire state. We will stand up and fight for our people in our communities wherever they are. We’d like to finish our commitment for broadband in all areas of the state; that’s important for families, healthcare and commerce. We also want to make a real commitment to transportation, healthcare and water quality. Those are the things we share and hold deeply as values. Whether they’re farmers, miners or developers, we all have a stake in it. That’s how I did my work as a nurse and I’ll do the very same thing as governor.
Mike Christopherson, Times’ Managing Editor: How do you convince people to keep a Democrat as governor for another four years or eight years?
EM: You make people understand what they’re voting for, not who. It’s not about us versus them. We need to take whatever sliver of common ground we have and build on it. If we stay divided, we aren’t going to have a very good future.
JB: What values and qualities will you seek in assembling a staff and making appointments, if elected?
EM: I will bring together a team who has the same ambition for our future, who are willing to take some risk for Minnesota. People that will put their heart and time in front of them. I can’t say enough for the hopefulness I’m experiencing. It’s the fuel for the future to build Minnesota.