Brent Murray

Brent Murray

It's no question that roads are among the most talked-about issue concerning the city of Spring Hill, with streets like Port Royal Road and Main Street seeing bumper-to-bumper traffic on a daily basis.

Brent Murray, who is running to represent Spring Hill's third Ward as alderman, says he wants to take a more creative approach to tackling the city's infrastructure problems, leap frogging past the perpetual race to keep roads up to par for an ever-growing population.

Brent Murray

Born in Detroit, Mich., Murray became an official Tennessean just six weeks into his life after his father moved to Nashville for work.

A traveling country music performer for much of his young adult life, Murray began working for CarMax as an entry-level sales consultant in 2001. Six years later, Murray had worked himself up to a senior level position, opening a new location in Jackson, Miss.

Murray moved to Spring Hill in the early 2000s, and other than a few years spent in Mississippi, has lived in the city since. Murray now operates the CarMax in Murfreesboro, but continues to call Spring Hill home along with his wife of 19 years and daughters.

A tactile approach

Murray said he decided to run for office because he felt his work ethic, people skills and creative thinking could help Spring Hill tackle some of its most pressing issues.

"I think we have some things going on well in the city, we really do, but I think there's some things that we really need to do to take a tactile approach to resolving some of these issues for the betterment of the city, for the betterment of the constituents," Murray said.

"I don't have a background in politics, but I do have a background in leadership, in gaining consensus, and learning to have robust discussions about things. My slogan is 'better together,' so I figured if you can do it in the business world, maybe there's an opportunity to do it in the city government world for the betterment of everyone."

Getting creative

When asked what he felt was the greatest challenge facing Spring Hill, without hesitation Murray pointed to roads and infrastructure.

"If I had to prioritize, I think it's no secret that most of us know we have infrastructure issues here," Murray said. "I would say infrastructure is probably the top priority I hear from not only friends and neighbors, but other constituents all over town. The way I look at it is a tactical approach to growth, I think infrastructure has to be the foundation to build upon."

In terms of his approach to improving the city's infrastructure, Murray explained that there were other, less obvious ways to leap ahead.

"I think you got to be creative roads," Murray said. "I don't see why you couldn't take Wall Street, widen it, phase one goes all the way down to Miles Johnson [Parkway], phase two takes it back up to Buckner [Road] at some point."

Murray continued, explaining that expanding Wall Street, which sits just east of and runs parallel to Main Street, could be a quicker alternative than widening Main Street itself, at least first, and the relief on traffic congestion would make the project more likely to find state or federal funding support.

Murray tossed out a number of other alternative ideas, stressing that while he wasn't married to any in particular, creatively attacking the city's infrastructure problems might be the only way for the city to get back on its feet.

"There's more ways to work roads than just widening — there's creative ways to do it... [we need to] try to be creative in the now because we're behind," Murray said.

"I lived in Atlanta — they widened the interstate to six lanes. As soon as they did it, it was absolutely jammed packed. If we don't take a very thoughtful, measured [and] tactical approach to infrastructure, we're going to find ourselves in 20 years [with the same issues]. I'm not saying my plans are the best, I [just] think we need creative solutions."

Less residential, more business and green space

Having young children of his own, Murray stressed the importance of giving residents a reason to stay in Spring Hill. Endless residential development, Murray said, was not something that would achieve that goal.

"I see a lot of residential things, and if I'm being honest, that's not what's going to have people stay here," Murray said. "I think we need to look at what are the businesses that will want to build that we can conserve and frequent. So in the plan, I would want to make sure that we focus on those businesses that we want to put up first."

Murray also noted the lack of activities within the city for children and families, praising the planned 1.3 mile greenway path that's scheduled to begin construction in 2023. Murray said similar projects would be a great method to improve the quality of life in Spring Hill.

"My 13 year old and my 3 year old, I want them to love this city, I want them to want to be in this city, I want them to be contributors to this city — for all that to happen, we need things that are here that attract our kids," Murray said.

"People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care"

When asked what skills he's acquired that best equip him to help lead the city, Murray pointed to his experience with CarMax.

"In my career at Carmax, I started as a full-time sales consultant," Murray said. "I found myself 35 years-old stepping into a new career I knew nothing about. Didn't know a whole lot of cars, but what I did know about was people."

Murray explained that while knowing all the ends of outs of any particular subject was important, perhaps most important was the ability to think creatively, work with people and use ingenuity to solve problems — things, Murray said, he felt he had learned through his career and could apply to a city leadership position.

"I worked from an entry-level position to a senior-level position in six years' time really because I was receptive to feedback, I had the ability to build value in our product, I was able to find alternatives for my customers," Murray said. "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

Election

Murray is just one of nine candidates running for office in the upcoming city election, and will be running against  incumbent Kevin Gavigan and local business owner Angela Privett to represent Spring Hill Ward 3.

Early voting will be from March 19 to April 3, with Election Day landing on Thursday, April 8. The last day to register to vote is March 9 — click here to register to vote online.