William Murphy

Longtime history teacher seeks nation’s highest office

William Murphy, a longtime social studies teacher at Hanover High School in Hanover, New Hampshire, stands in his classroom. | WILLIAM MURPHY / COURTESY

When the Murphy family played Trivial Pursuit, William Murphy would always win by choosing questions from the history category, a subject he teaches at the local high school, said Cynthia Murphy, his adopted daughter, in a phone interview.

But occasionally, Cynthia Murphy would outsmart him by choosing Entertainment, a subject he was not well-versed in, she said.

Family game night was one of several rituals William Murphy maintained with his wife and four children, along with distraction-free family dinner at 6 p.m. every night, Cynthia Murphy said.

“Family was very important to him. And we saw that growing up,” Cynthia Murphy, now 49, said.

William Murphy, 81, is officially registered as a Republican presidential candidate on New Hampshire’s ballot this year. The primary will take place on Feb. 11.

In New Hampshire, it costs $1,000 to put one’s name on the ballot, according to Ballotpedia.  William Murphy, a nearly six decade-veteran of Hanover High School, views his run not only as a way to bring his ideas to the conversation, but to teach his own students about the electoral process, he said.

“I want the students to know if you believe in something strongly enough, it’s worth the sacrifice,” he said. 

Seventeen Republicans and 33 Democrats have filed to appear on the New Hampshire ballot, according to the secretary of state’s office. Just three, including William Murphy, live in the state.

Among his policy positions, William Murphy would like to see the federal budget balanced, the United Nations reinvigorated and the government tougher on white-collar crime.

He is also in favor of the government paying for post-secondary education, but for every two years beyond high school that the government pays for, participants would owe a year in the military or Peace Corps back to the government.

William Murphy is also an ardent opponent of President Donald Trump. 

“The current president stands for everything I teach against, as far as character,” William Murphy said. 

After watching and being disappointed by the evening news night after night, William Murphy began asking his class if he should run. They encouraged him.

“So I went down and walked in the back door of the Capitol building, walked up the stairs, walked into the office, over to the secretary,” he said. “I said, ‘I want to sign up to be the President of the United States.’”

After hearing that her father registered to be on the ballot, “I was a little surprised, although I probably shouldn’t have been,” Cynthia Murphy said, chuckling.

Registering for the ballot turned out to be a fruitful experience in and of itself. While registering at the Capitol building, William Murphy met and spoke with Secretary of State William Gardner, who then agreed to come to speak to his class, William Murphy said.

When asked why her father would be the ideal president, Cynthia Murphy said he has a good perspective on the country’s history.

“Therefore, I think he sees where it could go,” Cynthia Murphy said.

But more importantly, her father is a loving person, demonstrated by the opening of his home to a Native American child that was not biologically his own, she added.

“That’s one thing they taught me, both of them: That my uniqueness was special,” Cynthia Murphy said of her parents.

Asked for ideas for he would like to see other candidates consider, William Murphy repeated the mantra that he tells his students.

“Character counts.”

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