Ten Questions: Brian Murphy
We’re starting a new feature here at RedMaryland, where we ask Maryland Republican candidates and leaders ten questions about their races, ideology, politics, etc., and we run their answers. This feature is cleverly named: Ten Questions. First up…..Brian Murphy:
Name: Brian Murphy
Office Sought: Governor of Maryland
Hometown: Chevy Chase
1. Give our readers a little insight into your background
That’s a pretty broad question. I’m a husband, I’m a father, and I’m a small business owner. I’m a member of my faith community, and a member of my broader community. And I’m concerned by the lack of principled leadership in our state. I know this is a bit vague, but a thorough answer could take several pages. More specific answers about who I am and what I value are available on my web site, www.BrianMurphy2010.com. Or feel free to ask. Many people have asked for specific answers to specific questions, and I’m always happy to elaborate.
2. What made you decide to run for Governor?
I have a passion for people. My desire is to create an environment where all of Maryland’s citizens are given the opportunity to succeed. Like most Marylanders, I’m concerned by our government’s lack of fiscal constraint. Our state, local and federal spending are unsustainable. But if I had to point to one moment in which I realized I needed to run for Governor, it was Jack Kemp’s funeral. My family worships with the Kemps, and we attended the funeral to support his family. I’ve always been inspired by Jack’s vision and his message, but it was at his funeral that I realized America, and Maryland, need Jack’s voice. The ideas of Friedman, Hayek, and yes, Jack Kemp, are rooted in the principles which have successfully guided our nation since before its inception. And if there has ever been a time in our history to retrench in the name of principled governance, it is now.
3. What is your political lodestar? What shapes your ideological background?
I’ve been all over the world, seen all kinds of governments, and am blessed to call a diverse group of people my friend. Just the other night, my wife and I hosted three young men from Sudan, part of the group known as “The Lost Boys”, who were relocated to the United States by the United Nations. Sharing political dialogue with men who have survived so much was an honor. We agreed that America still stands as a shining city on a hill, a beacon of freedom for the individual. Academically, I’ve always admired Milton Friedman. A read of “Capitalism and Freedom” will further elaborate on what I believe, and why. I especially like the preface for the 1982 reprint, with his reflections on his own development, and his acknowledgement of the role his wife played in shaping his ideology.
4. Running for Governor is a very interesting choice considering you do not have a political background; why Governor and not Congress, Comptroller, or a different office?
My background, my skills, and my talents are best suited for the Executive Branch, so there is no reason why I would ever run for Congress. And running for a lower level executive position, such as County Executive, is a partisan exercise for career politicians, especially in Montgomery County. I love running my company, and have no interest in being a career politician. I chose Governor because it is the office for which I am best suited, where there is the most need, and where I believe these principles can do the most good for the most people.
5. Bob Ehrlich is likely to run again for Governor this year; how does that impact your decision making, and do you think you can run a competitive race in the primary?
I respect Governor Ehrlich, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for our party to place all of its hopes on his shoulders. He will make the best decision for himself and for his family, and I support him. He may run, but there is a very real chance he won’t. And even if he does run, there is a very real chance he won’t be able to defeat Governor O’Malley. My decision has nothing to do with Governor Ehrlich, but everything to do with elevating the debate in Maryland politics. Maryland voters need more choices, not fewer.
6. Maryland is facing a budget crisis; how would you address it?
This budget crisis is by our government’s own design. In the private sector, you adjust to downturns, or you go bankrupt. We all saw what happened to the governments in New York, New Jersey and California. Maryland is fortunate that we are not there yet, but we soon will be if we choose not to address our addiction to spending. We already passed record tax increases three years ago, but are still overspending. Maryland is one of the wealthiest states in the union, with one of the highest tax rates. There is no reason we can’t control our deficits. But it means we have to move back into the real world, where we view private sector jobs as a good thing. Our budget shortfall needs to be addressed the same way every family and every business in Maryland addresses their own budget shortfalls. Families and businesses can’t vote themselves a pay raise. Why should our government?
7. Many Republicans are concerned about the bloated size of Maryland government; what government programs or agencies (if any) would you cut, reduce, or eliminate?
It’s not just Republicans. It’s also Independents and Blue Dog Democrats. Every program is good on the surface, but we live in a world of finite resources. Choices need to be made. Maryland’s government cannot continue to grow even if our private sector retreats. Small companies, like my bakery, are the lifeblood to Maryland’s economy. But when times are tough, our companies need to make cutbacks in order to survive. We must become stronger and more efficient. We expect our government to do the same. In fact, it’s completely irrational for our government to think they are the only one immune from the economy. They must become more efficient, on every level, in every department.
8. Many counties budgets are being crippled by Maintenance of Effort requirements; would you support eliminating or reducing those requirements?
Counties can make their own budgets for their own funding, and can submit whatever requests they feel are appropriate for state funding. But crying “Maintenance of Effort” to justify a budget doesn’t fool anyone. When I was a student at the University of Maryland, I was fascinated by how they painted the buildings every year, even if the buildings didn’t need it. That was my first real introduction to Maintenance of Effort requirements. If the pillars need to be painted, then by all means paint them. But if you have $1 left, we can agree it’s silly to paint the pillars instead of funding teachers, or their pensions. It all comes down to priorities.
9. Two of the most important issues facing Maryland are concerns with transportation and the environment; on which issue do you place a greater priority, and how would you address it?
They are huge issues, and we need to partner with the private sector to find permanent solutions for both. The goal is to maintain clean air and clean water, and protect our shared green spaces. The Bay is a national treasure, and rightfully so. And by partnering with the private sector, Maryland can address the issues facing the environment. For example, I know of an inventor who has a new technology by which we can address the Bay’s dead zones. This technology is scalable, and could be exported around the world. This could solve an environmental problem, and at the same time grow our economy and increase Maryland’s tax base. By making our cities more livable, we will reduce the need for a commute, make our workers more efficient, increase our tax base, and be in a position to fund more extensive mass transit. By expanding Calvert Cliffs, Maryland would import less energy, be less dependent on foreign oil, create permanent jobs, and be a recognized leader in the nuclear resurgence. That expertise could be used by the rest of the nation, further growing our private sector, and our tax base. America’s private sector is the engine which drives innovation. Our environment and our transportation system desperately need innovation. Why not partner with the greatest source of innovation in the history of the world?
10. If you had a choice of any Republican to be the nominee of our party for President in 2012, who would it be?
Ask me in six months. Right now I’m focused on the Republican nominee in the Maryland Gubernatorial race.