Willard Murray (Courtesy photo)



The late Willard Murray, Jr. was a giant among Democratic political leaders for more than 60 years. A revered strategist, civil rights activist and political maverick, he was committed to helping other throughout his life.

After working as an aero-space engineer through the 1950s, he made a significant impact on behalf of others through his work on the staff of elected officials on all levels of government. He served as a trusted deputy to Councilmembers Robert Farrell and Billy Mills as well as to former Lieutenant Governor and U.S. Congressman Mervyn Dymally.

As a State Assemblymember from 1988 to 1996, Murray advocated for the people by emphasizing education, economic development and healthcare. He later served 10 years each on the Water Replenishment District of Southern California and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

All of Murray’s actions were motivated by his desire to help people, which likely influenced his creation of the California Democrat Voter Guide in 1961.  According to family members, the dedicated public servant considered the publication “as a vehicle for providing information about candidates and ballot measures to voters in the community.”

The California Democrat Voter Guide remains the longest continuously published voter guide addressing the needs of the African American community and it is an enduring, tangible symbol of Willard’s desire to uplift Black Americans by providing voting information.

“You can honor the memory of this great public servant by casting your vote in this election,” said his son, former Senator Kevin Murray. “Look for the California Democrat in your mail this election season.”