By Leslie Boghosian Murphy
I never thought I’d run for public office. As an investigative reporter for 20 years, I was assigned to cover some of the world’s most devastating tragedies. I traveled to Venezuela for the catastrophic mudslides, Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the tsunami and Malawi to research famine and food insecurity. Although these were painful things to witness, I wanted to be there. Reporting gave me the opportunity to shine a light on situations that needed a champion. Never did I imagine that I’d be consumed by hardships happening in my own backyard. What’s happening in New York City right now demands new direction and new leadership.
After my daughter was born 8 years ago, it felt important to take a break from work travel and devote 100% to my community. As the granddaughter of Armenian immigrants who fled genocide and a third generation New Yorker, I knew I wanted to be involved in local issues and build connections with my neighbors. From those first steps of joining my co-op board, working at the local women & children’s shelter and getting involved with my Block Association, it was a natural progression to apply my passion for advocacy and eventually become an Executive Member of Community Board 4. Until our city was devastated by the effects of the pandemic, however, running for City Council was never on my radar.
I’ve often said that it’s easy to be a leader when things are going well. Spending time at a Senior Center event or popping by a new park for a ribbon-cutting are quite different from addressing a public health crisis, battling with homeless agencies to provide proper services or aiding an Arts & Entertainment community that has been completely decimated. Our neighborhood WILL recover but we need leadership that is prepared to take a hard look at our problems—both new and old—with a fresh set of eyes and an ability to think outside the box. I’m not waiting to be elected to get started.
When the clock was ticking last summer and it became apparent that the Department of Education did not have a comprehensive plan for September, I brokered agreements with local teaching colleges in NYC to augment staffing at our local elementary schools. Without those provisions, there would not have been enough teachers to properly cover both remote learning and in-person instruction. That’s the kind of “get it done” mentality that is needed right now in New York City.When you run for office, people often ask “why do it?” It’s hard work, and the majority of the candidates running in this race have put our hearts and souls towards the betterment of our neighborhoods without the benefit of a paycheck. We do it because we love our neighbors, we believe in our community, and we want to see our city revived.
We need a leader who is always listening, someone who sees a problem and goes after it with passion, even when it may seem too tough to tackle. That’s the type of representative we need right now—and that’s the kind of leader I have already proven myself to be.
Our community is begging for help: we want to feel safe, to go back to work, to be able to live affordably, to fill our empty storefronts and most of all, to know our leadership really cares and is fighting for us. If my fellow New Yorkers elect me to represent them on City Council, I promise to work hard for our neighborhoods every day, seek out and really listen to other people’s views and help figure out practical ways that together we can build our city back better, protect our civil rights while also ensuring that our streets are safe, educate our children and promote a greener environment.
Leslie Boghosian Murphy is a former investigative journalist, a mother and Executive Board Member of Community Board 4 who is running for City Council in District 3, which includes the West Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen.