‘It’s a bit surreal’: Beaufort’s newest mayor lays out plans for his hometown

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BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – As he steps into his new role as Beaufort’s mayor, Stephen Murray says he’s eager to take on the task to help make his community better.

“It’s a bit surreal to me,” said Murray.

The former city councilman says he never anticipated a run for mayor and only decided to run for office as a way to solve problems in a new and creative way.

“So that has lead me now to be the mayor,” he said. “I guess I’m most excited that being mayor is going to give me a different capacity to solve problems.”

He’s not wasting any time setting goals for his first term in office, including bringing more economic opportunities, addressing rising tides, and creating a strategic growth plan for the future of the city.

“Figuring out how we manage that growth,” he said. “That’s transportation infrastructure. That’s filling in some of the gaps in our community. Making sure we’re having a broad community conversation about urban versus rural sprawl.”

Murray says he’s learned a lot from his time on council with former Mayor Billy Keyserling, specifically lessons on civility and cooperation in government.

“A more civil, conversational, consensus building government and consequently in 12 years, 95% plus of our votes have been unanimous,” said former Mayor Keyserling.

After working for six years as city councilor, Murray hopes to continue working as a transparent and inclusive elected official.

“My basic job is to be a bridge between you and your local government,” said Murray. “My phone is always on, my door is always open.”

New city council members Neil Lipsitz and Harold Mitch Mitchell also took the oath of office Tuesday night.

A special election will also be scheduled to fill the vacant seat left on the council by Mayor Murray. The next meeting of this new council will be next Tuesday. 

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