Wendell H. Murphy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Wendell H. Murphy is a former North Carolina farmer, Democratic politician, and namesake of the Wendell H. Murphy Football Center.

Early life[edit]

Wendell H. Murphy was born in Rose Hill, North Carolina. In 1960, Murphy received a B.S. in agriculture from North Carolina State University. After graduating from college, Murphy became an agriculture teacher, but soon Wendell and his dad, Holmes Murphy, opened a feeding manufacturing operation. The operation started in 1964 with area farmers in open lots. By 1979, Wendell and Holmes Murphy had started sow and farrowing operations as well. The business is now known as Murphy Family Ventures and is a part of the Smithfield Foods operation.

Political career[edit]

In 1983, Murphy was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives as a Democrat. He represented North Carolina's tenth district until 1988. He was then elected to the North Carolina Senate where he served until 1992. During this time, Murphy received a lot of attention for his work in politics including the Tar Heel of the Week Award by The News & Observer in May 1987 and the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 1988. Murphy was later profiled by the News and Observer in their Pulitzer prize-winning "Boss Hog" series. In these investigative pieces, the N&O illustrated the rise of the hog industry in North Carolina with the help of politicians, such as Murphy. During his time in state politics, Murphy sponsored or helped to pass bills which exempted hog facilities from local zoning laws, from environmental litigation from neighbors, and gave the industry generous subsidies and tax-exemptions. However, because NC laws do not prohibit state lawmakers from working on legislation in which they have a financial stake, Murphy did not technically break any laws.[1]

Murphy was also mentioned in the Boss Hog series as having donated $100,000 in 1988 to Harold "Bull" Hardison's campaign for Lieutenant Governor. That donation was well over the $4,000 legal limit that is allowable under law. However, neither Murphy nor Hardison were prosecuted for this crime because it was discovered in 1992 after the two-year statute of limitations had expired. Policy observers have conjectured that the illegal contribution was in return for Hardison's support of the hog industry in the past, and for his sponsorship of the Hardison Amendments, which put an end to a number of environmental regulations that affected the hog industry.[2]

Critics of Murphy claim that the laws he passed helped to enable unsustainable growth in the hog industry, which later caused massive water pollution resulting in fish kills throughout eastern North Carolina. Proponents on the other hand claim that his legislation helped to expand the industry at a time when it was needed to offset the job losses caused by the decline of tobacco farming.[3]

NC State stadium[edit]

While in politics, Murphy also helped with North Carolina State University athletics. He was a member of the Centennial Authority, which helped develop the RBC Center, the home for NC State Wolfpack men's basketball along with the Carolina Hurricanes and Carolina Cobras. In 1987, while serving as senator, Murphy sponsored legislation that gave 1.5 million dollars for the initial planning of the RBC Center. Murphy then kept working to get funding to the stadium until he eventually got 22 million dollars donated to the project. For his work with North Carolina State University athletics, the Wendell H. Murphy Football Center was named after Murphy in 2003.[4]

Personal[edit]

Wendell Murphy now lives in his birthplace of Rose Hill, North Carolina with his wife Linda. He has four children and seven grandchildren.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stith, Pat (February 22, 1995). "Murphy's Law: For Murphy, good government means good business". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Campaign Corruption Escapes Weak State Law". Star News. May 12, 1993. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Stith, Pat (February 22, 1995). "Murphy's Law: For Murphy, good government means good business". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Wendell H. Murphy and Family Honored: Football Operations Center named to honor family.". TheACC.com. Retrieved August 29, 2012.