Baby of the House
Patrick Murphy changed parties, changed careers, and now wants to change Washington.
WORDS BY Nick Canedo
When he won his election for Congress in 2012 from Florida’s 18th congressional district, Patrick Murphy, a certified public accountant and vice president of his family’s construction business, became the youngest member of the House of Representatives. Born in Miami, raised in Key Largo, Fla., and a graduate of the business administration program at the University of Miami, Murphy, now 31, is a Democrat who supports LGBTQ and pro-abortion rights.
Murphy seeks re-election to a second term in November. Here, he answers questions ranging from his political goals to issues he sees as central to millennials.
Bellwethr: With the conclusion of this congressional term and the next term approaching, what are main goals you’d like to see accomplished?
Murphy: There have been many ups and downs during this Congress. At its worst, partisan bickering shut down our government. At its best, Congress passed its first budget in over five years. I want to see Congress continue this positive trend of working together to find common ground to move our nation forward, making sure we remain the greatest country in the world for generations to come.
What have been the advantages and disadvantages of being the youngest congressman?
People respect the fresh perspective our generation brings to the table. While a major reason of why I ran for office was to help build a better future for my future wife and children, for now I am able to spend 100 percent of my time and energy focused on serving the people of the Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches. Honestly, I don’t ever see my age as a disadvantage.
What do you think are the most important issues millennials should be concerned about, and why?
Getting involved. It’s troubling to go to high schools in my district and speak to students in AP Government, the ones you would think would be the most engaged, and even they are disillusioned given the inability of past Congresses to get anything done for our country. Our generation can’t sit on the sidelines, and it is important to remember that the decisions being made today are going to affect us and our kids more than our parents and grandparents.
How and why should millennials become more involved in politics?
It doesn’t matter how. Just find a way to get involved in something that you enjoy, whether it is donating your time or money or public service. What is important is that millennials get involved, stay engaged, and are a voice for our generation on all levels of government, from a school government all the way to the federal level.
What advice do you have for millennials who want to enter public service but are afraid to because of their age?
Your age is just a number, and it should never hold anyone back from serving their community or nation.
According to recent research by the Pew Research Center, millennials seem pretty lop-sided in their views on two hot-button issues — gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana (they strongly favor both). What are your views on these issues, and what do you see the nation’s stance on these issues being in 10 years?
I am a proud supporter of marriage equality and have been pleased to see continued progress across the nation on this front. On the matter of decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing medical marijuana, I respect the authority of the states to decide this matter for themselves. Given that younger generations’ views are in line with recent actions by the states on both of these issues, I would anticipate these trends will continue and expand over the coming years.
Featured image courtesy of Patrick Murphy.
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