Council candidate has ties to municipal hall

Another Murdoch throws hat in ring, this time for 2011

Kevin Murdoch

Kevin Murdoch

With municipal elections now less than three months away, Oak Bay has its first fresh candidate for council.

Kevin Murdoch announced last Thursday via Twitter that he will run in the Nov. 19 election. He is the first non-incumbent to declare his candidacy, joining current councillors John Herbert and Tara Ney, who confirmed their presence on the ballot in July.

If longtime Oak Bay residents think Murdoch’s last name sounds familiar, there’s a good reason: his grandfather, George, was a councillor and eventually the municipality’s reeve.

George Murdoch spent 18 years as an elected official and was instrumental in the establishment of the Oak Bay Marina and the Oak Bay Tea Party, among other accomplishments.

That legacy is certainly one factor which drove Kevin to run.

“I see all these things around the community that remind me of him, and I guess it’s a large part of it,” he said. “All the things that my kids get to enjoy remind me of him, so I guess you could say he inspired me.”

Murdoch has two children, aged four and 21 months, and plans to make families a major focal point of his campaign.

Business and tourism are also on his radar.

“We can support our community with tourism, make this a destination. Oak Bay’s a jewel in Victoria and there’s lots of things we can do to support businesses by promoting tourism.”

The King George Terrace resident currently runs a business unit for a Vancouver Island Tech Park-based IT company called CompuGen. He said he’s ready to try his hand at something that will have a more direct link to his community.

“I spend a lot of time at work on projects that have zero impact on my family’s life,” he said. “I thought it would be nice to spend some of my energy on something more local.”

Unlike many first-time candidates, who run because they’re frustrated over the way council handles certain issues, Murdoch is fairly happy with life in Oak Bay, but said there’s room for improvement at municipal hall.

“I’d like to see council getting more involved in things, not just showing up to vote. It seems very caretaker-ish right now,” he said. “I always look at things as, you do it 100 per cent or you don’t do it at all.”

Murdoch is planning to leave his job at CompuGen – though he will continue to do periodic work on an ad hoc basis – to dedicate himself full-time to his campaign, and ultimately, council duties should he be elected.

And despite the decidedly 21st-century way he chose to declare his candidacy, Murdoch said his campaign will rely on plenty of good old-fashioned door-knocking.

“My job over the next two months is to get in front of as many people as possible. Collecting all the critical questions from people, and coming up with a cohesive plan of where I’d like things to go.”

There will be at least two new faces on council when the dust settles in November.

Two-term incumbent Hazel Braithwaite recently announced she will seek the mayor’s office to replace outgoing Mayor Christopher Causton, while five-term councillor Alan Cassidy passed away in July.

Coun. Pam Copley and Coun. Nils Jensen have yet to reveal their plans.