Lobbyist, volunteer activist Liz Murphy succumbs to cancer
Liz Murphy featured in AP story on hospice care before her death
Murphy, 70, entered hospice care a few weeks ago and up until recently was still chatting and sharing stories with her family and friends along with her co-workers at Sheehan, Phinney's Capitol Group, which she had joined after years of running her own business.
Bruce Berke president of Sheehan, Phinney's capitol Group, said “Liz was one of a kind. She'll be greatly missed.”
He said he first met Murphy when she was a member of the House in 1983, the first Democrat elected from Carroll County, and he worked on the House staff.
“Liz had a style that was basically you don't give up, you keep working the issue, staying focused on the issue and meeting with people to share with them the facts of the situation,” Berke said. “She might have been stymied going down one avenue but she would turn around and go down another and she was very, very successful.”
She and Berke joined together in 2006 having had their own lobbying businesses.
Murphy represented many clients, large and small, including recently Florida Power and Light, owners of the Seabrook Nuclear Station.
Services are being planned for later in the week.
Murphy was the voice of another long-time client the NH Association of Police Chiefs, particularly in the group's opposition to expanding gambling in New Hampshire.
Former president of the association Steve Monier said “Liz was not only the consummate professional in the work she did on behalf of her clients, she was a terrific person and a real leader when it came to public policy.”
“I greatly enjoyed both our personal and professional relationship over the years,” Monier said. “I'm sad we have lost someone of her stature after her courageous battle.”
He noted Murphy was very effective working with members of both political parties in the State House and was very good at bringing people together.
“It's a real loss for New Hampshire,” Monier said. “She has done so much in the public arena. Our hearts go out to her family.”
Another long-time client was Verizon or Bell Atlantic. Former spokesman Erle Pierce, who was also a colleague at the Sheehan, Phinney Capitol Group, called Murphy a great advocate and friend who he worked with for more than 15 years.
“Liz always had her eye on the prize and took the right path to get there,” Pierce said. “It was always good to have her on your side.'
He noted Murphy had a very personal style not only knowing her clients and their families but also legislators and their families.
“Her mind up until the last few days was always running. She was still making connections,” Pierce said. “She will be missed.”
House Speaker William O'Brien said he was saddened to hear of Murphy's death.
“She made a huge difference for years in Concord, and was a truly passionate advocate for the causes she believed in and her clients' needs,” O'Brien said. “Liz leaves behind a tremendous hole that will be hard to fill and Concord is worse for losing this great woman.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with her husband John and her family at this difficult time,” O'Brien said. “They have tremendous support across the State House community and we will make sure they know just how deeply Liz will be missed.”
Her husband John Reagan is a member of the House.
In 2006, the non-profit Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications honored Murphy for her efforts on behalf of the school, especially in establishing its First Amendment honors program and helping it thrive.
"Liz was an early supporter and friend of the Nackey Loeb School," said Executive Director David Tirrell-Wysocki. "She graciously volunteered her time and expertise as the school got its feet wet -- and was always there to help as it grew over the last decade. We will miss her."
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