BEAUFORT — Jarrett Bay Boatworks hosted newly elected Rep. Dr. Gregory Murphy, R-N.C., Friday morning as he toured through Carteret County.
“We’re going from the largest (counties) to the smallest,” Rep. Murphy said.
His choice to tour boat manufacturer Jarrett Bay Boatworks near Beaufort wasn’t unintentional, he said. As the newly elected representative for North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Carteret County and much of eastern North Carolina, Rep. Murphy is still in the process of working out his objectives, but said he is certain manufacturing will be one of his points of focus.
“It’s Manufacturing Week, and as the newly elected member of Congress I’m just coming out … to visit the district and trying to meet as many people as possible in the district and just listen,” he said. “Listen to what’s going on to better advocate on their behalf.”
The urologist won a Sept. 10 special election to fill the seat, empty since the February death of longtime Rep. Walter Jones Jr. Over the last week he has made a number of stops in the district to talk with local officials.
While Rep. Murphy could have visited any number of manufacturing sites, he chose Carteret County’s Jarrett Bay because of what he described as the company’s impact on the area.
“They are one of the biggest suppliers in this area,” Rep. Murphy said. “They are doing a fantastic job making a name for themselves and they have made a name for themselves in eastern North Carolina.”
The tour took the new congressman through much of the compound where Jarrett Bay Boatworks makes their boats. Marine engineer Peyton Lanier showed Rep. Murphy the work and equipment that facilitates the company’s operations.
Rep. Murphy said it’s important to help companies like Jarrett Bay thrive.
“This is a time for me to listen and see what the needs are to better decide how things can be advocated for when I have a greater deal of knowledge to work from,” he said.
He added there are a host of other topics he would like to address while in office.
“I’m advocating for all things that are good for eastern North Carolina,” Rep. Murphy said. “There is manufacturing, but we have farming, we have our military, we have tourism, the fishing industry. There is so much in eastern North Carolina that we have to work on behalf of.”
The representative added that of all the issues, the one that is most dear to him is the military.
“The military is a large influence in eastern North Carolina,” Rep. Murphy said. “Onslow County, Craven County, Carteret County and up there at the (U.S.) Coast Guard stations and everything in Elizabeth City. That isn’t the only interest, but that is a very a large constituency that we have.”
Switching gears, Rep. Murphy talked about his time in Congress. Though he has only been a representative for two weeks, he joined during a chaotic time.
“I’m having to basically start from scratch and hire a new office staff,” Rep. Murphy said. “And then we’re trying to create new offices in the district. That’s been the constituent part, because I want our constituent services to be second to none. And on the political side, it’s difficult right now.”
Elaborating on the political difficulties, Rep. Murphy cited the impeachment proceedings ongoing against President Donald Trump.
Rep. Murphy, who as recently as last month campaigned with Donald Trump Jr., believes the proceedings are ill-advised.
“Personally I don’t think there is any issue,” Rep. Murphy said. “I think it’s very, very unfortunate that there is such divisiveness, that we’re trying to push an agenda forward about (President Trump’s legitimacy) when we should really be focused on the interests of the country. That only benefits the people that would like to see us fall down.”
Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 232; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.