Part of the fun of being on the campaign trail -- aside from meeting all of you! -- has been getting to know the other candidates for At-Large City Council. They’re my competitors, yes, but several have become friends and I’ve enjoyed learning about their stories.
I think my story sets me apart. I don’t have an Ivy League pedigree or a law degree, but I think what I’ve accomplished and gone through in my life gives me a unique understanding of the challenges facing everyday Bostonians. Everyone’s story is different, but we all know what it’s like to struggle with unexpected hurdles, battle through adversity, and with a little luck and a lot of determination, conquer our fears and doubts.
I come from hardy Dorchester stock with a strong tradition of activism. My grandfather Richard Murphy organized the various neighborhood groups under one umbrella, the Dorchester United Neighborhood Association, to turn a former landfill into a park and community buildings -- today, the Richard J. Murphy School and adjacent sports fields and playgrounds. My Auntie Kay and mom started the first Teen Center in the City of Boston right there in the gym. And Papa Murphy led the founding of the Redberry Credit Union, which made very small, very-low interest loans (“micro-loans”) to working people in the city.
After high school, I enrolled at UMass-Boston first in business management. When I was 19, I had my first son, Brian. I picked up more waitressing shifts and dropped my course load to juggle my new responsibilities. As a teenage mother I was scared and knew that I needed to stay in school to make a good life for my small family. By the time I graduated in 1999, eleven years after starting, my daughter Maisie was one, I was pregnant with Michael, my youngest, and had buried my son Colin. My twenties were a struggle to say the least but I persevered and did what was necessary to become a Boston Public School teacher.
A lot of folks would have thrown in the towel on higher education at that point, but I was determined to push forward. I never gave up and I earned my degree in Business, History and Elementary Education. Later, I earned my M.A.Ed. from Fitchburg State University. I just finished paying off my student loans a few months ago, and I’m 51 years old, so I know a thing or two about how the system needs to change.
As a teacher in the Boston Public Schools for 22 years, I became even more familiar with the things families have to deal with: educational challenges, economic setbacks, substance use disorder and recovery. At the age of 45 I started running marathons (and, trust me, when I first started out, NO ONE would have thought I could run a marathon) to raise awareness and sorely needed funding for substance use disorder and mental health recovery services in Boston. To date, I’ve raised more than $50,000 for the Gavin Foundation. And gone through a lot of sneakers.
When I tell my story to people I meet across all of Boston’s neighborhoods, I get not just a universally positive reaction, but the sense that people can RELATE to it. Most people didn’t go to an Ivy League school or get a law degree. Everyone’s path is different, but when I’m door-knocking or having coffee with seniors or even meeting folks at the many candidate forums we’ve all attended, I meet a lot more people whose stories sound like mine.
So, why does that matter? Not just because it’s fun to listen to other people’s stories (though it is!). It matters because, as your city councilor -- a city councilor for every neighborhood -- I will understand your issues, already be familiar with your struggles. I’ll know how to make city government work to solve them for you and your families. In every neighborhood across this great city.
I want to be your go-to call at City Hall not just because of the life I’ve lived, but because chances are pretty good that it’s not all that much different than the life you’ve lived.
Please vote for me so I can get to work for you!
Erin Murphy was born and raised in Dorchester where she is the devoted mom of Brian, Maisie, and Michael (and Murphy Dog). She is a veteran Boston Public School teacher and special education coordinator who has spent decades dedicated to her students, families, and neighbors in Boston. Erin is a proud alum of UMass Boston and Fitchburg State University (M.A.Ed.). In her free time, Erin runs marathons to raise awareness and much needed money for addiction and mental health recovery services in Boston. She has raised over $50,000 for the Gavin Foundation. She is an avid photographer and hiker, dragging her (more than willing) dog up hill and down dale to share photos of our beautiful New England city with Bostonians near and far. She understands the struggles and challenges facing every day Bostonians because she lives them too. Navigating our public school system, paying the rent or the mortgage, caring for aging parents, and recovering our lives and livelihoods in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Now more than ever, Boston needs leaders like Erin to bring our City back.
Since 1979, Erin has been working to improve our City in all ways, large and small. From picketing to save Adams Street Library as a teenager, to helping the Mayor's Office of Recovery Services bring life-saving services to those in need, to representing neighbors as a Ward 16 delegate, Erin shows up and works hard.
As a daughter and granddaughter of Local 223 Laborers, a Boston Teacher Union member for decades, and an unwavering believer that union jobs bring prosperity and stability, Erin will fight for Unions.