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Kevin Murray

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Kevin Murray
Kevin Murray.jpg
Board member, Janesville Board of Education, At-large
Term ends
April 2017
Years in position 10
Elections and appointments
Last electionApril 1, 2014
First electedApril 2005
Term limitsN/A
Associate'sBlackhawk Technical College
Military service
Service/branchU.S. Air Force
ProfessionRetired firefighter
Office website
Kevin Murray is an at-large member of the Janesville Board of Education in Wisconsin. He first won election to the board in 2005. Murray won re-election to the board in the general election on April 1, 2014. He was a 2012 Democratic candidate for District 44 of the Wisconsin State Assembly.


Murray earned his Associate's degree in Fire Science from Blackhawk Technical College. He worked as a firefighter and paramedic with the Janesville Fire Department until his retirement. Murray is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.[1]



See also: Janesville School District elections (2014)


Kevin Murray ran against fellow incumbent Bill Sodemann as well as challengers Diane Eyers, Fred Jackson and Dale Thompson in the general election on April 1, 2014.


Janesville School District, At-large General Election, 3-year term, April 1, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngKevin Murray Incumbent 29% 4,360
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngDale Thompson 20.3% 3,051
     Nonpartisan Green check mark transparent.pngBill Sodemann Incumbent 17.4% 2,612
     Nonpartisan Diane Eyers 17% 2,554
     Nonpartisan Fred Jackson 16.3% 2,448
     Nonpartisan Write-in votes 0.2% 29
Total Votes 15,054
Source: Rock County Clerk, "2014 Spring General Election," April 1, 2014


Murray was exempted from filing a pre-election campaign finance report to the school district clerk by the March 24 deadline.[2] State law allows candidates to claim exempt status from campaign finance reporting if contributions and expenditures do not exceed $1,000 during a calendar year.[3]


Murray received the endorsement of The Gazette in the April 1 general election.[4]


See also: Wisconsin State Assembly elections, 2012

Murray ran in the 2012 election for Wisconsin State Assembly District 44. He ran against Debra Kolste, Sam Liebert, and Yuri Rashkin in the Democratic primary on August 14, 2012. Incumbent Joe Knilans (R) is running unopposed in the Republican primary. The general election took place on November 6, 2012.[5]

Wisconsin State Assembly, District 44 Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngDebra Kolste 42.1% 1,926
Kevin Murray 35.2% 1,610
Yuri Rashkin 15.4% 705
Sam Liebert 7.3% 335
Total Votes 4,576

Campaign themes


In an interview with The Gazette, Murray acknowledged his role as a frequent critic of Superintendent Karen Schulte:

That's been kind of my reputation, one who isn't afraid to question what's going on in the school district, not in a confrontational way, but I consider myself to be an average guy, and I just want to know, so I can feel confident in what is going on and making sure our taxpayer dollars are being spent in the right way. [6]

GazetteXtra (2014), [1]

What was at stake?

Issues in the election

March 4 candidate forum

The League of Women Voters and the Janesville Area Council PTA hosted a candidate forum on March 4. Every candidate except Fred Jackson attended the forum. Incumbents Kevin Murray and Bill Sodemann argued for their re-election bids based on recent progress achieved by the board. Murray believes that the district must retain experienced teachers in order to improve academic performance. Sodemann decided to seek re-election to promote Journey to Excellence, an initiative that uses results in the classroom to assess employee performance.[7]

Challengers Diane Eyers and Dale Thompson emphasized the need for greater communication between district officials, teachers and parents. Eyers suggested that the district has to improve communications with the public regarding new policies. Thompson believed that teachers should be more involved in policy development rather than waiting for policies from the board. He also argued that the state legislature needs to provide more time for the district to meet Common Core curriculum standards.[7]

About the district

See also: Janesville School District, Wisconsin
Janesville School District is located in Janesville, Wisconsin
Janesville School District is located in Janesville, Wisconsin, which is the county seat of Rock County. According to the United States Census Bureau, Janesville is home to 63,588 residents.[8] Janesville School District is the ninth-largest school district in Wisconsin, serving 10,339 students during the 2010-11 school year.[9]


Janesville underperformed in comparison to the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2010. The United States Census Bureau found that 21.5% of Janesville residents aged 25 years and older had attained a Bachelor's degree compared to 26.4% for Wisconsin as a whole. The median household income in Janesville was $49,084 compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin. The poverty rate in Janesville was 14.1% compared to 12.5% for the entire state.[8]

Racial Demographics, 2010[8]
Race Janesville (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 91.7 86.2
Black or African American 2.6 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.3 1.0
Asian 1.3 2.3
Two or More Races 2.1 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 5.4 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[10]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 60.9 37.8
2008 63.8 34.5
2004 58.3 41.1
2000 57.4 39.0

Note: The United States Census Bureau considers "Hispanic or Latino" to be a place of origin, not a race. Therefore, the Census allows citizens to report both their race and that they are from a "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin simultaneously. As a result, the percentages in each column of the racial demographics table will exceed 100 percent. Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" place of origin percentages, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one or two tenths off from being exactly 100 percent.[11] This Ballotpedia page provides a more detailed explanation of how the Census Bureau handles race and ethnicity in its surveys.

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