Murray making the rounds in GOP race for Council at large

Drew Murray was a Democrat six months ago, but is now a Republican and running for a City Council at-large seat.

“The Democratic Party just went too far left,” he said after addressing a party fundraiser Monday night at Cannstatter’s.

Murray grew up in Villanova and is a 1990 graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep, where his dad Jim was the longtime soccer coach, athletic director and math teacher.

Today, he lives in Logan Square with his wife and two daughters. He is president of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Friends of Coxe Park. He is a regional sales manager with O’Brien Systems Inc. He is making his first run for office.

Murray favors the 10-year property tax abatement to encourage development, affordable pre-kindergarten and a reduction in the wage tax and opposes Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status and safe injection sites. The beverage tax has funded some worthwhile projects, he said, but the industry shouldn’t shoulder all the burden. Murray favors a broader-based tax to pay for the initiatives. He’d eliminate the gross receipts tax for businesses.

On the campaign trail, Murray has visited ward meetings, Republican events and bipartisan forums. He believes he wins votes at civic association meetings.

“They can relate to me,” he said.

Murray opposes property reassessments.

“We should let the market determine home value,” he said.

The candidate favors safeguards for people living in gentrifying neighborhoods that would be designed to result in annual property tax hikes of no more than 3 percent.

“That’s not a Democratic or Republican issue,” he said. “People should not be priced out of their homes.”

After big population losses in the 1970s and smaller losses for the next few decades, Philadelphia is growing, thanks in part to empty nesters moving in. Murray will support policies that continue to increase population.

“We have to attract more families,” he said.

Murray will support efforts to improve all schools – public, Catholic, charter and private.

“I’m for school choice,” he said.

He wants parents whose kids approach age 5 to stay in the city, not move to the suburbs to send their children to desirable public schools.

“Our schools are getting better,” he said.

Murray is one of seven candidates seeking five nominations in Tuesday’s primary. There are several factions in the city GOP, and Murray is expected to land on most of the sample ballots in the Northeast, where most of the Republican voters are.

Looking at the results of the at-large race in the 2015 primary, Murray figures he needs about 8,000 votes to advance to the general election. ••