Here on the Stay Work Play NH blog, we’re celebrating young leaders all over the state — and we have a lot to celebrate! Last fall, New Hampshire saw a boost in young people taking office at the state level. In fact, 42 of our representatives are under 40 years old. You’ll get to meet all of them on this space, but we also want to shine a spotlight on the young people leading their communities at the local level!
Meet Mackenzie Murphy!
When you read Mackenzie’s introduction, you may find yourself asking how one human can manage to do so many things!
In addition to her day job as an Enrollment Specialist at Nashua Community College, the 22-year-old Merrimack resident serves on the Merrimack School District Budget Committee, the Hillsborough County Democratic Committee, the NH Young Democrats Policy and Election Committee, and as the Vice Chair of the Merrimack Democratic Committee. Mackenzie has worked as an intern on Capitol Hill, campaign manager for Mindi Messmer for Congress last year, and the NH State Director for Congressman Eric Swalwell’s Presidential Campaign.
I guess you could say she is into politics, but she wasn’t always. Find out more about the busy young woman serving her community (and beyond)!
Tell us about your “Path to Politics” — what made you decide to get involved?
I never imagined a future in politics. It wasn’t something I had a passion for, nor did I pay it any attention. However, I did always know I wanted to have an impact on my community and help those less fortunate than myself.
As someone who grew up with a stutter and some learning disabilities, I have always valued a quality education and appreciated those teachers who went the extra mile to ensure I was successful. I understand the value of ensuring our school systems have appropriate funding for Special Education services and mental health resources. After learning about my passion for education, the Superintendent of the Merrimack Schools, Marge Chiafery, mentioned to me there was an opening on the Merrimack School District Budget Committee. So, I decided to run. I ran for the Budget Committee to ensure that every student has what they need to be successful.
I also got involved in politics because we don’t see enough young people in positions of leadership today. We are the future generation and it is up to us to be advocates for our generation and for generations to come. Every time I tell someone that I am only 22, their response is always; “What made you want to serve on the budget committee?” I have always believed it is my duty as a NH citizen to get involved and make a difference. It’s up to us and I’m excited to continue to get involved and make a difference in my community.
What’s the number one thing you hope to accomplish while in office?
I hope to be a voice for the voiceless and to show other young people that if you set your mind to something and work hard toward your goals, you will be successful and accomplish whatever it is that you wish to do. In Merrimack, it is my goal to get more young Merrimack residents involved, while also spreading how important it is for them to make their voices heard and vote in local and state elections!
What advice would you give to another young person interested in getting involved in local politics in NH?
Attend a local meeting and see what local politics is all about. Attend a school board meeting, town council meeting, or a local political committee meeting. Every chance you get, introduce yourself to people and build relationships. The more people you meet, the more opportunities you will have to get involved. It is important as young people for us to make our voice heard. If you want to see change or you have an idea, don’t be afraid to speak up.
What advice do you have for citizen advocates?
Learn about what is happening in your community and get involved! There are so many ways to get involved in your community, from running for local or state office to knocking doors, to writing postcards to your elected officials, making phone calls, or donating. If nothing else, get out and vote in local and state elections. If you don’t think your voice or vote matters, it does.
Finally, just for fun, tell us something about yourself that will surprise people.
I am adopted and one of six children!