The votes have been counted and University of Miami junior Stephen Murray is one of the nine new representatives on the Coconut Grove Village Council. He will be sworn in in December.
“Winning was an amazing feeling,” Murray said. “It was the culmination of months of hard work by a lot of people.”
Murray will be working with a diverse group made up of West Grove residents, a public relations expert, attorneys, a city employee, a PhD, a business owner and a new Chairman.
“The new council is a great group of people who are dedicated to improving the community that they live in, work in and love,” Murray said.
Murray sometimes feels he has to work harder to prove himself because of his age, but he is not intimidated.
“The key is that we were all elected for some reason or another and my opinion matters just as much as anyone else’s on the Council,” he said.
The future of Coconut Grove lies in the hands of the Council, the city, county and state governments and the community.
“No single person can solve the problems we are facing here,” Murray said. “Working together will be the only way to move forward.”
The new council’s first steps will be to revamp their Web site and make administrative adjustments. They are looking for someone to help with the Web site, and Murray said a UM student would be welcome to take on the project. Another student is needed to take minutes on their meetings one night per month for pay. Students can also get involved through the Grand Avenue news project by the School of Communication or through the pro-bono efforts by the UM School of Law in the West Grove.
Murray is currently putting together an agenda to figure out what committees will be needed to address the issues he hopes to tackle.
“It has been difficult to juggle things, and I have a lot of projects due in the next two weeks, then exams start,” Murray said. “I still haven’t even gone out for a victory celebration.”
Though he knows he has a lot on his plate, Murray finds his work rewarding and is ready to stand up for Grove residents in need.
“I have a lot of faith that the new Council will be a vessel for change in the current status quo,” he said.