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Murray files for a 2nd term on City Council

Incumbent 1st Ward Albert Lea City Councilor Rich Murray filed for reelection this week to another term on the council. 

Murray, 62, said he has enjoyed his first four years on the council and thinks he has added value regarding issues important to moving the city forward.

Rich Murray

“The work is not done,” he said. “Now with everything that’s going on in the city and the state and this country, I think there’s going to be some major decisions that have to be made in looking at the city fiscally.” 

With a financial background as president and managing director of ISC Financial Advisors, Murray said he thinks he can be a big help in this area. He would also like to continue work on other important projects in Albert Lea regarding job creation, improving housing and creating new housing. 

During the last four years, he said, he is proud of being a part of finding a new executive director for the Albert Lea Housing and Redevelopment Authority as well as a new executive director for the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. He sits on both the HRA and ALEDA boards. 

He said new HRA Executive Director Jeanne Leick has had a great start turning the agency around and giving it some stability moving forward to help work on additional housing needs in the community. 

ALEDA Executive Director Phillip Johnson, who has been in the position for a little over a year, has also been “hitting a stride” and helped work through a new strategic plan with the city and county, Murray said, which will help provide vision moving forward. 

“It looks like this is going to be a good team that we have there that’s going to be able to help this community grow businesses we already have and also to help create new businesses,” he said. 

With the resignation of Albert Lea City Manager David Todd last week, Murray said the council will need to go back to the drawing board and look at the position and what skill set is needed for the future. 

“It’s a different skill set than what we looked at previously with everything going on,” Murray said, noting he doesn’t want to rush on filling the position but instead wants to take the time needed to do it right. 

He said he is confident the city staff in place can move things forward and make sure things are operating effectively in the interim. 

In the coming years, he said the council will need to focus on its fiscal stability because of the effects of COVID-19. 

“We don’t know what our budget and things are going to look like from a financial standpoint in the community over the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. “The shutdown of our economy is causing a lot of chaos out there.” 

The council will need to be prepared to look at different ideas on how to operate on less revenue as it cannot ask residents and businesses to pay more when they’re going through tough times themselves, he said. The city will need to look at how to provide services to the residents of the community without overwhelming them with a tax burden that some of them aren’t going to be able to handle.

Though council members met in late January and came up with many goals and projects they would like to see happen in the coming years, Murray said a lot of these things will need to be put on the back burner temporarily as the city maneuvers the effects of the virus. 

Aside from his work with the city, Murray said he tries to do work with other nonprofits throughout the community and help them where possible, including the Shinefest organization. 

He said he thinks it is important to continue addressing poverty within the community and figure out how to help people in these circumstances improve their lives through education, jobs and other means. 

Murray said he enjoys spending time with his family and attending his grandchildren’s various events and also runs regularly, competing in various races each year. 

Murray previously served one term in the Minnesota House of Representatives.