Rep. Greg Murphy holds open house at new Manteo office

Published 7:11 am Monday, February 27, 2023

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U.S. Rep. Greg Murphy held an open house on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 in his new district office on the first floor of the Dare County Administration Building, located at 954 Marshall C. Collins Drive in Manteo.

This is the first time a U.S. Representative has opened a district office in Dare County. The office is staffed by Leslie Ginski, a caseworker for the congressman. Call 252-230-3549 for an appointment. The office is in Room 194.

The afternoon event drew people active in electoral politics as well as those with questions or comments for the congressman.

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Murphy thanked Dare County Board of Commissioners for use of the space. “It’s important to have safe space.”

Dare commissioners attending the open house included board Chairman Robert L. Woodard, Vice Chairman Wally Overman and commissioners Rob Ross and Steve House. Also attending was J. Owen Etheridge, Currituck County commissioner.

Woodard started the conversation about local needs. He mentioned the just-released report by the NC 12 Task Force. He asked Murphy for some help with state leaders. “The state never put money into a nourishment fund,” said Woodard. “We’ve got to get some money into that fund. We can’t afford to jeopardize the $225 million already invested” in beach nourishment projects.

Murphy talked about the Water Adaptations to Ensure Regional Success (WATERS) Summit held last October. He said this year’s summit will concentrate on the barrier islands.

He also suggested using funding from the state’s rainy day fund for beach nourishment for mitigation.

Woodard also said, “we need other options.” Murphy responded, “I’m not adverse to hardened structures.”

Donna Creef, government affairs director with the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, asked about federal flood insurance that essentially requires oceanfront property owners to let houses fall in the ocean.

Creef mentioned something like the “Upton-Jones” amendment.

The amendment was adopted in 1988 and repealed in 1994. The program paid up to 40% of the policy to property owners to relocate structures and 100% of appraised value plus 10% to clean up the site. The structure had to be in the federal flood insurance program and considered in imminent danger of collapse along with other requirements.

About the current situation, Murphy said “that needs to change.”

Michael Davenport, a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, voiced concern about the current administration’s interpretation of what constitutes “Waters of the United States.” Davenport said the interpretation puts ditches and creeks under federal jurisdiction. He characterized his concern as a national problem.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 did not define “waters of the United States.” Prior to 2015, upstream water resources were protected. The prior administration undid that definition. For the current administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a revised regulation with what’s called a “durable definition” of waters of the United States. The regulation takes effect March 20, 2023.

Murphy said the real swamp in Washington is the bureaucrats who make regulations. He’s trying “to rein in some of that nonsense.”

Attendees registered concern about China buying property and China sending drugs to the United States. He suggested divesting out of China. “We are at war with China,” said Murphy.

Murphy was asked about “the wall” at the country’s southern border and people entering the country illegally.

He said, “a lot of people are looking for a better life.” These immigrants can’t work legally. That has created a black market with human trafficking. He suggested tripling the amount of visas. “It’s a tough issue.”

Murphy harshly criticized the current president and vice president on immigration and drugs, describing their work as a “failure to protect the country,” a dereliction of duty, an abject failure.

In addition to this new office in Manteo, Congressman Murphy has district offices in Greenville, Jacksonville, and New Bern.

Murphy represents the Third Congressional District which includes Beaufort, Camden, Carteret, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pitt (part), Sampson and Wayne (part) counties.

On Feb. 3, 2023, Murphy listed his committee assignments for the current Congress:

House Ways and Means Committee, subcommittees on Trade and on Health; Veterans Affairs Committee, subcommittee on Health; Committee on House Administration; House Republican Whip Team; Doctors Caucus, as co-chair; and Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus, as co-chair.