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Thursday, February 19, 2015

I am an open book.

In the last week and a half or so, I have been asked a few times who I am. And we all have the common answers like I am a mom, a wife, and a daughter. But this morning a friend challenged me to write a blog telling people a bit more about who I am. And of course, anyone who knows me, knows I always take on a challenge.

I have done these types of introductions a few times over the years, like when I started this blog, and when I started my columns with various newspapers. But I wanted this one to be different, and not too heavy a read. In other words, I wanted to have some fun with it.

The basics are I am 41, and this year I will celebrate 20 years of marriage. My hubby(as he has been known in columns over the years), is Tim Murphy, and he is currently working at Syncrude Canada here in Fort McMurray. Our oldest son, Mitchell is 17, and will be graduating this year. Nathanial is 15, and both boys go to Holy Trinity. Shayleen is going to be 6 next week, and she reminds us every day. And first and foremost in my life, I would describe myself as a mother. It took me many years to say it proudly, I can remember when I was younger and I would explain why I had decided to stay home with the boys, like it was something that had to be justified to the world. Now I say that I have been blessed to have been a stay at home mom for many years to all our kids, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything. We are foster parents here in town, and so I guess you could say I made a profession out of being a mom. It has been through my role as a foster parent, and working with other social profit groups in town that I started thinking that I wanted to get more involved on a political level so that changes could be made to some things where I saw needed improvements. But I wasn't sure how to incorporate that into our lives.

I have written about pretty much anything that has happened to us over the course of our lives, and that is why I say I am an open book. I have written about losing two of our babies, my bone marrow transplant, weight loss, our experience with a terrible car accident when Tim was hit by a drunk driver in a head on car crash, and I have written about lighter subjects like me trying out yoga, and our vacations. But the one subject I probably have written about more than any other in the last number of years is politics, and politics in relation to our community and how the decisions made by our various levels of government impact the people that live and work in Fort McMurray. So if you want to find out about any of these subjects and my views, you can google me and whatever word for the subject, or go back through the blog to get a better sense of who I am.

Mabou Harbour, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia was home until I went away to college, and then I lived outside of Sydney, in Howie Centre, then Creignish, and then our beloved Long Stretch Road outside of Port Hawkesbury before we made the moved to Fort McMurray. If you had told me eight years ago that I would be a strong, out spoken voice in Fort McMurray and running for council, I probably would have told you to get out. I didn't like upsetting people and who the hell was I to be giving my opinion on things? But over my years in Fort McMurray, and in raising our children I have learned that I have a strong voice, but I always am able to have a balanced view of various subjects.

I like to think that my upbringing in Cape Breton and my experience of living in Fort McMurray have brought me to a point in my life where I am wanting to now participate more in the decisions that are being made about our community. Fort McMurray is an exciting place to live, and there is so much potential for what we can accomplish in the next number of years. I want to be in on it. I want to be working at bringing more long term residents to Fort McMurray. I want to be part of local businesses and investors getting excited and expanding their business and creating new ones. I want to throw open the door and see the creation of a more diverse economy in Fort McMurray that will promote growth and provide more and much needed services to our region. And I want the people of Fort McMurray to feel that their municipal council is here to serve the people that call this home. During the last election I had many people say that they didn't know about various things regarding council until I was writing about them, or sharing articles on my Facebook and Twitter. I want to be part of council so that more people will feel a connection to the work that is happening with council. There has been a lot of great work done by council in the last 18 months or so. They are working towards being more transparent, but more importantly to me they have uncovered some huge issues through things like the audit and just old fashioned asking the right questions. And I want to be part of the team that continues forward with the recommendations from the audit and with being more progressive in the decisions that are being made for the region.

What else can I tell you about who I am? I love the water, I hate housecleaning, I love to cook, I love when the kids have school breaks because it means more time with them, I did palliative care work for seven years before moving here, I could eat thai food every day for the rest of my life and be happy, and I hate it when people call me "Red" in reference to my hair.

Other than that, feel free to ask me anything, and I will answer it. I didn't go into various issues that I am passionate about in Fort McMurray, but you can bet that as the campaign ramps up I will be getting more specific. I have a Facebook campaign page, it's Verna Murphy for Council-Ward 1Fort McMurray. But like I said, I am an open book, so follow me on FB, on Twitter I am @MurphyVerna and on Instagram I am FortMacMom. My campaign slogan is Passion and Progress, and as you can tell, I have a lot to be passionate about in my life, and I will bring all that to council and I believe that now more than ever Fort McMurray needs a council that will be progressive, as we continue to grow and become more diverse, both among our residents and our businesses. So if you want to support me by volunteering, donating or if you just want to sit down for a coffee to talk about our city and my bid for council, you can email me as well at: or just call me at (780)838-1782.

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