Note: On January 15th, I wrote about Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray’s special announcement, held in the Brickyard Brewing Company in Lewiston, New York.
“I am running for Congress against Chris Collins in the 27th district,” Nate said to a crowd of about 200 in the restaurant’s upstairs room.
That was the start of Nate’s Congressional journey. In the next few months, I will be documenting this journey with stories and photographs, as Nate’s campaign travels through the towns and countryside of New York’s 27th district. My first visit, post announcement, was in Warsaw, located in Wyoming County, at a meet the candidates forum.
Today’s story is Nate’s personal journey, in his words, which started in Western New York, took him to such distant places as China and South Korea, and brought him back to Western New York. It took him from working in business to serving in elected office. Here are some of the things that Nate said, during his presentations.
I grew up in North Tonawanda, one of seven. My father died at the age of 39 of cancer. I was four. My mom gave me a zest for life. She taught us to be curious and have a love of education.
We were very poor. We didn’t have enough to eat. They tried to take the house for taxes.
Nate had a job that involved working with asphalt. He came home, covered in asphalt, which was difficult to wash off. He decided that he needed to go in a different direction, so he went to college, starting at Erie Community College and then at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After graduating with honors, he went on to the Hastings College of Law in California.
I went to UB and worked two jobs. I went to law school, where I worked, unplugging the toilets of classmates. I became a Fulbright Scholar. I went overseas and learned Chinese and Korean.
(China) When I first got there, there were dirt roads. Now, there are eighty-story buildings.
I worked as senior legal counsel for Samsung Electronics. I was the only non-Korean to hold such a position.
After working in Asia for a number of years, Nate returned, with the family that he formed overseas, to Western New York.
I missed Western New York. I came back. My ancestors built the canal. I swam in that canal.
The Chinese word for America is “beautiful country.”
(on the towns and villages of Western New York). They are like snow globes with little, beautiful main streets.
Is making money all that life is about?
In 2015, Nate ran for Grand Island Town Supervisor. He had never before run for public office.
Jim Sharpe (the Chairman of the Grand Island Democratic Committee) sent me a letter, asking, “Are you interested in serving your community?”
Jim Sharpe (at the Special Announcement): I first thought that Nate could be good for a councilman but then decided that he could be town supervisor.
Nate was elected town supervisor by fourteen votes. During the two years since he was inaugurated, Grand Island has experienced change. A large abandoned building that had been an eyesore for years has been rehabilitated and will soon open as a Holiday Inn Express. A multi-use trail will be built along Grand Island’s west river, which will be part of the Niagara River Greenway, connecting Buffalo to Niagara Falls.
We’ve received millions of dollars for infrastructure improvement. We’ve preserved hundreds of acres of land. We’ve enacted a solar law.
Why run for Congress? What do you intend to bring to Congress? What are your priorities and your hopes for this nation?
I have more international experience than anyone in Congress.
It’s about priorities. I will fight for health care and I will be relentless.
Our infrastructure has deteriorated. We have degraded bridges and roads. The internet comes in a trickle. Elsewhere,there is 5G internet in four dimensions. We can build highways in Iraq. We can build here.
Our country needs to invest in our people. Get rid of student loan debt. We need people who can build our country.
I will visit the district and I will have open town meetings.
We must invest in our most valuable thing: our humans. My heroes are our teachers, firemen, policemen, and our farmers, who make sure that we have fruits and vegetables for our local farmers’ market.
I am fighting for the kid that I was. We need to find a way to pull together. Our country needs it.
Keep checking this blog for the continuation of Nate’s Congressional journey.