Rising star GOP legislator Sen. Murphy cites family as he resigns

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State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine. | Sun-Times file photo

Known as a rising star in Republican state politics— and a key legislative ally to Governor Bruce Rauner — Sen. Matt Murphy on Friday announced his resignation to take a government relations job at a public affairs firm.

Senate deputy Republican leader since 2013 and a senator since 2007, the outspoken Palatine legislator said in a statement on Friday that it’s time for him to “move on from public office.”

“Today, I am announcing my intention to resign from the Senate effective September 15th. While I have truly been blessed to serve in the Senate, I have also been blessed with a wonderful family. At this juncture in my career, I have chosen to pursue an opportunity in the private sector that allows me to better meet my family obligations,” Murphy said in the statement.

Murphy thanked his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and said he enjoyed getting to know and befriend people from both chambers and parties.

“I wish more people outside of the legislative process could see how well we get along personally, even when we disagree vehemently on policy, and also how many legislators really do care about our state and our constituents,” Murphy said.

Murphy also noted the difficulties in being a legislator: “At times the weight of the responsibility that comes with it can be difficult to carry. But the truth is I have loved every second of serving with you and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”

Murphy, 46, was first elected to the state Senate in 2006. He briefly positioned himself to run for governor in 2010, before throwing his support to rival candidate Andy McKenna and shifting his focus to running for lieutenant governor. Murphy narrowly lost in the GOP primary to Jason Plummer.

A lawyer, he is married and has four children.

Murphy’s exodus will be the second to hit Rauner’s legislative cheering section.

Speaking at the Illinois State Fair on Friday, Rauner said he hadn’t talked to Murphy since his resignation was announced.

“I was surprised by it. Disappointed. I think he’s been a great legislator. He will be missed no question. That said we have strong advocates in the General Assembly for what we are recommending for reform . . . We’ve got advocates on both sides of the aisle and I’m optimistic we’ll get some good reforms done for the people of Illinois.”

Just last month, Republican Rep. Ron Sandack abruptly resigned from the state House, issuing a statement to Capitol Fax saying that “cyber security issues” forced him to re-evaluate his “continued public service.”

Sandack, also a vocal supporter of Rauner, later disclosed he reported those cyber issues to Downers Grove investigators. Documents the suburb eventually released under Freedom of Information requests revealed that while Sandack had reported an “internet scam” to police, “the actual criminal activity that took place” was something different. Village officials declined to detail what the investigation entailed, but noted it was not related to Sandack’s former role as a west suburban state representative.

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