When Linda Murphy cooks, she follows a recipe. But she adds her own spices and ingredients to come up with her own creation.
"I've been doing it long enough that I know what works and what doesn't work," Murphy said. "I try to take in information from every source I can find and then mold them around in my mind to come up with the best product."
Murphy's cooking philosophy could be insight into how she would treat her potential spot on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly. She's running against J.R. Myers for the Soldotna seat.
When figuring out how to vote on any particular issue, Murphy said she would talk to the mayor, department heads, constituents and other relevant individuals to attempt to find the right recipe.
"How can you make a decision if you don't have all the information?" Murphy said.
As borough clerk, a job Murphy worked for eight years, she was accustomed to listening to other people. She remembers hiring an employee, the current borough clerk Johni Blankenship, who would frequently make suggestions about how to do things.
"Johni (Blankenship) would say, why would I do it this way? She would say, 'If we did this, this and this, wouldn't it be much easier?'"
Rather than rule her office rigidly, Murphy said she would listen to suggestions and decide the best way to proceed.
Murphy would do the same thing as a borough assemblywoman.
"I would not be making decisions to be popular. They would be based on what I think is in the best interest of the borough as a whole."
Murphy also said she isn't worried about being personally popular, and admits to loathing the self promotion typically required in a campaign.
Murphy has dealt with adversity within the borough. When the assembly had to approve hiring her as borough clerk in 1997, Grace Merkes voted against the hire.
"At first, I was wary of her. I thought I might have to watch my back around her," Murphy said.
But after she started the job and the two actually interacted on a professional level, Murphy said they began to respect and actually like each other.
Murphy said she would treat everyone on the assembly with respect regardless of personal and political differences.
"I can't take credit for this phrase, but we can disagree without being disagreeable," Murphy said.
Murphy is retired, and in her free time, she likes to do crossword puzzles, golf, play around on her iPad, garden and read mysteries. She is taken with Stieg Larsson's "Millennium Trilogy." She also helps run her husband's contracting business.
So why would she want to cut into her fairly relaxing retirement by joining the borough assembly?
"It's not really giving up retirement," Murphy said. "It does take a bit of time to be on the assembly, but I've been involved in public service all my life. It's an area where I have some expertise and where I can be useful and helpful."
Sure, the job will require trading the mystery novels she enjoys for the 300-page assembly packets, but Murphy doesn't see it as a sacrifice.
"I like the meetings, I like knowing what's going on, and I like being involved," Murphy said.
Andrew Waite can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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