I heard last week that St. John's East MHA George Murphy was seriously considering not offering for re-election. Today he made it official.
He made his name as the spokesperson for the Consumer Group For Fair Gas Prices an organization that he pioneered in 1997 in reaction to the the lack of regulation in gas pricing in this province. His vigilant updates on gas pricing and lobbying for regulation saw the introduction of changes in this province - most notably the introduction of minimum and maximum pricing and the introduction of the Petroleum Products Pricing Commissioner.
Despite his election to the House of Assembly in 2011, he continues each and every week to provide updates to consumers on expected rises, falls and trends in petroleum products.
The news disappoints me as George has got to be one of the most sincere, hard working and dedicated members in the House of Assembly. He was not a career politician or a band wagoner. He believed in the people of the province were his boss and he gave them 100%.
He is a left-of-center Liberal - a social democrat, who like many Liberals found himself disenfranchised with the post 2003 party.
He ran for the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2003 against Progressive Conservative behemoth John Ottenheimer. He was trounced picking-up 14.50% of the vote. It was a fund campaign to work on. He never complained, just kept knocking on doors. He was in the race to the end.
After the untimely death of Diane Whalen, he sought election under the NDP banner on the Dec 2, 2010 by-election in Conception Bay East - Bell Island District. He lost to David Brazil but polled 26% of the vote.
In 2011, he ran again in St. John's East, this time for the NDP. A relatively affluent seat, he toppled the incumbent Tory Ed Buckingham, earning a seat in the House of Assembly.
Much of the seat now lies in the revamped St. John's East -Signal Hill district where former NDP leader Lorraine Michaeal announced she will be running.
Murphy says his decision not seek re-election is solely based on the needs of a young family.
The NDP have lost a strong know social democrat and star candidate. I am fairly confident that Murphy could have won re-election to the House of Assembly in a number of seats. His decision not to run is a blow for the New Democrats.
George would make a super Consumer Advocate in the future.