Erin Murphy kicks off run for Mayor of Dorchester

Erin MurphyErin Murphy

Erin Murphy’s Dorchester roots run deep. She’s helping to guide a generation of her neighbors’ kids as a first-grade teacher. And, as she’s raising three children of her own in the neighborhood, Erin has become a fixture of the youth sports and civic scene.

Now, Murphy is taking the logical next step for someone devoted to Dorchester: She’s running for mayor.

Murphy, 43, made the leap into the honorary mayor of Dorchester contest last week when she learned that the Dot Day parade committee — which depends on the mayor’s race to help raise the funds needed to put the parade together— was in need of some help.

Murphy is now the lone candidate in the mayor’s contest. But the lack of competition is not stifling her zeal to make the event a success where it counts: as a money maker for the parade. She’s using Facebook and other online tools to help her gather donations for her campaign—which will all be turned over to parade organizers in time for the Sunday, June 1st parade.

“You don’t realize the amount of time and money it takes to run a good parade,” says Murphy. “Every dollar that’s raised goes directly to the parade. I love the neighborhood, so this is a way to give back.”

Murphy just jumped into the fray last week at the annual Meatloaf dinner at First Parish Church, which serves as the official launch of the Dorchester Day season. In year’s past, the contest to “elect” a mayor has drawn multiple candidates, all vying the raise buckets of cash and checks to win the coveted, ceremonial position. In recent years— as in this year’s instance— there’s been only one candidate. The winner has no official duties— other than riding in a place of honor in the parade itself. The real payoff, so to speak, is the satisfaction of helping parade officials put on a great show.

Murphy grew up on Ashmont Street and remembers joining her dad, Chris Murphy, every year in a walk to Dorchester Park to find a choice perch on the wall along Dorchester Ave. to watch the parade. Her grandfather, Richard J. Murphy, was an immigrant from Ireland who settled in the neighborhood in the 1930s and went on to become a stalwart civic leader. Murphy was active in his Pope’s Hill neighborhood and helped to found a civic umbrella group known as Dorchester Allied Neighborhood Associations. A longtime custodian at MIT, Murphy was considered so pivotal to the creation of a new public school and community center in Neponset that the school was later named in his memory after his sudden death in 1968. The Richard J. Murphy School —now a K-8 on Worrell Street— still bears his name.

Until last fall, Erin Murphy had the privilege of working at the Murphy herself as first grade teacher for the last 12 years. She decided to transfer this past school year to the Henderson Inclusion School on Dorchester Avenue. The school community has rallied around her campaign for mayor— with many of her students and parents chipping in to help fund the parade.

Most of Murphy’s efforts so far have come through her personal Facebook page. She has been collecting donations through a crowdrise website. Erin says she will plan some kind of public event after the Boston Marathon.

One of the reasons I am holding back is we have so many close friends running marathon and I want to be respectful to those fundraising efforts. I will wait until after the marathon and plan a few small events.”