INTERVIEWED BY: ASHLEY WINTERS
“You can organize enough noise to get people in the community involved”
Governor, mayor, aldermen, are all elected officials who are sworn in to serve the people. Now some uphold their title and are really for the community, while others develop a strange case of amnesia – you know the ones who totally neglect their duties and responsibilities to those they promise they wouldn’t forget once they got into office? Yeah, those guys or gals. Though when you have a Committeeman like Marty Murray Jr., whose priorities are to those he is serving, he will go down in history as one of the good guys.
Some might add that Marty is just what St. Louis needed in an elected official- he’s in the trenches with the people. On the frontline fighting for justice for all, being a positive role model for the youth, and making sure he is on top it when it comes to the 7th Ward. Marty just may be a young Barack in a legislative full of Trumps.
His story gives you a reason to be involved in your community- whether it’s helping others register to vote, volunteering, or simply exercising your first amendment to peacefully protest. Marty has all the right moves to get you pumped about civic engagement.
The Man Behind the Mission
Growing up in Chicago Marty didn’t make his way to St. Louis until 2011, after graduating from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). So, the age-old Lou question “what high school did you go to” won’t apply to him (laughs)…- Yet his eagerness to help St. Louis reach its fullest potential is beyond anyone who was born and raised here.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in Business Management, Marty knew he couldn’t stop there. With the pressure of being the first in his family to graduate from a four-year university, Marty decided to go for his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Missouri Columbia better known as Mizzou.
But what does business have to do with politics? Well if you’re anything like most of our elected officials they would say a lot- however for Marty absolutely nothing. While in undergrad Marty really focused on working in the community and taking Political Science courses, he even recalls taking so many he could have earned a degree in “political science”. Flashing that contagious smile, he gives when being modest, Marty still is unaware to why he took so many “political science” classes. However, for those who know his work in the community, they are glad he did. Maybe, just maybe this was all preordained.
Marty just knew that one day he would go into business maybe be a CEO of a fortune 500, but the “political science” classes kept his attention this was during the beginning of the Barrack Obama era and politics were becoming a part of his foreground.
While he was unconsciously doing the work, an elected official would do and engaging in every “political science” course possible, Murray was already preparing himself for the political arena. He knew he always wanted to help his people, and the communities they live in. Marty knew the people that resembled him, and his upbringings didn’t always have a fair voice especially when it comes to the betterment of social and economic improvement. He wanted to be their voice, whether it was through business or politics.
First the Election & Then the Work
August 2016 was a moment the Seventh Ward finally had a Committeeman for them. Marty Murray Jr. was now in place to represent Downtown St. Louis, Soulard, Lafayette Park, and Downtown West, all which have separate concerns and conflicts which Marty is prepared to handle each with the finesse of hitting the pavement and listening to his community. Looking up to local greats like State Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Marty was ready to take on his new calling. Marty is no stranger to seeking advice from local elected officials. Having a close relationship with State Rep Bruce Franks, and 5th Ward Alderman Rasheen Aldridge, together they will help push St. Louis towards the right direction.
So, what does a Committeeman do exactly? Well for starters a Committeeman is directly tied to the people regarding politics they are the most accessible. They encourage those in their ward to become civically involved, they make sure their constituents are registered to vote, and if there is a vacancy in office they work to fill that seat. But let’s go back for a second, Marty is partially responsible for four different neighborhoods, so how does he keep everything in tact? It’s no easy job, but Marty goes into each concern or conflict by tackling the important issues first, making sure he is accessible to his ward. Marty will even go as far as giving out his personal number so that he can always be reached.
Gloves 4 Grades is a prime example of his dedication to providing the youth in his ward and outside with a positive outlet to help them stay out of trouble. Marty is certainly not here for the speaking points or photo ops. He is here in the trenches putting in work.
Gloves 4 Grades is a youth program Marty started back in early 2016, at the 12th & Park Recreational Center. It’s a non-profit organization, encouraging academic success for at-risk youth through amateur boxing. Marty states many of our youth programs are underfunded. Since the 12th & Park Recreational Center had outdated boxing material, he decided to help provide the kids who trained there with new boxing gloves in exchange for good grades. Gloves 4 Grades started out with 12 kids and now has about 40 kids in a variety of gyms across the city. He even saw an eight percent increase in their GPA’s for the kids who started last year.
During his time in office, Marty hopes to help decrease crime, provide more youth outlets for the young people in his ward, and improve the economic development within the city. Marty plans to accomplish each of these goals by attending all neighborhood meetings. “We need to focus on it (homelessness) more fundamentally, and not put a band-aid on the problem,” says Murray.
The one task that has really been difficult for him since his election is the homelessness issue that affects our city so deeply. He admits he does not approve the city’s approach when handling this delicate situation, but be does understand the concerns of the residents in his ward. To have trash lying around everywhere in downtown is one of their major concerns. In his opinion, this matter put a lot of strain on the community.
He would like to see our local political figures put and keep the people at the forefront oppose to self-interest.
As always Committeeman Marty Murray is for the people and the entire St. Louis region.