Highlands Ranch attorney Richard Murray announced Wednesday that he’s seeking the Republican nomination for the open 6th Congressional District seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.
"I really am the product of the full CU experience," Murray, a former student body president at CU Boulder and a graduate of CU Law School, told Colorado Politics.
"I'm a proud 'Double Buff,' " he said. "Everything I am, I owe to my experience, my education and the people I got to work with during my time at CU. I want to ensure all Coloradans have the same ability and accessibility to have the same world-class education experience."
Murray, 38, practices business law at the Denver office of national law firm Polsinelli and serves on several nonprofit boards. He said he and his wife, Elizabeth, can be found with their two young children cheering the Buffs at Folsom Field and at the Coors Event Center during basketball season.
He said he hopes to bring a range of experience to bear on the job of steering the state's largest university system.
“The next CU regent must have more than experience in higher learning or even a love for the University of Colorado," he said in a statement. "The next regent must be ready to successfully guide CU’s large four-campus system — the third-largest employer in the state — and its $5 billion budget. My experience leading large organizations and multi-million dollar budgets, coupled with an understanding of my alma mater best positions me to help lead CU into the future."
Murray pointed to his experience in CU's powerful student government, during the same period as Democrats U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and state Rep. Leslie Herod.
"I was a conservative working with individuals across the aisle, and with the city of Boulder, on a citywide advisory committee," Murray said. "And in my law practice, in a litigation setting, which is adversarial, we're always trying to find compromise and a way to work collegially with one another, professionally, in a way that, if you have disagreements, that’s natural. People have different perspectives and different ideological approaches — and that’s the beauty of our state."
He's the chair of the CU Law School alumni board, serves on the Colorado Access to Justice Commission and is the immediate past present of Continuing Legal Education in Colorado Inc., the educational arm of the Colorado and Denver bar associations. In 2018, the Denver Bar Association named Murray its Young Lawyer of the Year.
Murray noted that he was appointed to the state Access to Justice Commission by then-Senate President Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, and then re-appointed by Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat.
"I take some pride in that," he said. "It’s a bipartisan issue for folks to have access to pursue justice in our courts."
The seat's incumbent, Republican attorney John Carson, said in August that he wouldn't seek a second, six-year term on the board.
Englewood Democrat Ilana Spiegel and Highlands Ranch Republican Priscilla Rahn are also running for the seat, whose boundaries coincide with the Aurora-based 6th Congressional District, covering parts of Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas counties.
Regents oversee the CU system’s roughly $5 billion annual budget and make key hiring and policy decisions for the university’s four campuses: CU Boulder, CU Colorado Springs, CU Denver and the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. The board includes nine members — seven elected from each of the state's congressional districts, and two at-large members.
Murray said he plans to focus on the cost of tuition and related issues.
"One of the biggest issues is the affordability of an education at CU, which directly impacts the accessibility of higher education in Colorado," he said.
"That affects the ability of students to attend and get their degree from a world-class institution. That dovetails with the types of issues I worked on when I was student body president at CU. That involves fundraising and scholarships for students, providing resources for students from all backgrounds, really promoting students to get an education, as well as supporting our student athletes."
He added: "I wish there was a silver bullet for it, but this is not a new issue. It’s going to take thinking outside the box and working together to come up with solutions."
Murray said he expects his campaign to be well-funded and plans to go through the caucus and assembly route to the June 30 primary ballot.
Saying he intends to wage a "productive, positive campaign focusing on the issues facing the university," Murray declined to weigh in on President Donald Trump, whose impeachment trial was getting started as the Double Buff prepared to launch his campaign.
"I don’t want to comment on the president," he said. "I see it as separate and distinct from the CU Board of Regents. The Board of Regents is charged with being the stewards of the flagship university in the state. It’ll be a race with its own issues and messaging, even though there’ll be a lot of noise in the news from other races on the ballot."