Rapid City, SD
Most city council elections don't attract much attention. But the race to fill a vacant city council seat in Rapid City is in the spotlight.
One of the candidates in the race is Marla Murphy. If that name sounds familiar, this isn't the first time that Murphy has been in the public spotlight. She served on the city council from 2000 to 2005 as Tom Murphy. After news of her transition became public, she left office. Now she hopes that people's attitudes have changed.
When a seat on the city council of Rapid City opened up after Sam Kooiker became mayor, Marla Murphy decided to throw her hat in the ring.
"I have a couple of close friends who said that I should go back in, but I was kind of reluctant," Murphy said.
That's because when she served on the council before, as Tom Murphy, she was protested by the Westboro Baptist Church and received numerous threats, some of which were relayed through friends and neighbors.
"That was probably the hardest thing. I can handle the threats against me, but when it goes through the people that I know, I really get upset," Murphy said.
But in spite of the prejudices Murphy encountered, she says that going through with her gender transition was a positive experience.
"It was scary but it was also liberating because I could no longer lie. Once I came out, this is who I am," Murphy said.
Although Murphy admits that her entry into the race has gotten a lot of attention, she hopes that when voters hit the polls, they'll be thinking about her qualifications, not her identity.
"Hopefully it is on my knowledge, on my experience, and on my education level. I hope that those are the things that come through, not who I am," Murphy said.
Murphy's plan if elected is to protect health and public safety from budget cuts. The polls will be open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. at all four ward 2 precincts.