Heard on the Hill

Murphy Says Key to Success Is Good Heels and Running Shoes

Florida Democrat shares what makes her a ‘mom boss’

Murphy stretches during her morning run, with the Capitol in the background. (Bian Elkhatib/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Stephanie Murphy typically takes a run down the National Mall as the sun is rising over the Capitol. A few hours later, she is there in high heels walking to votes.

In her first term in Congress, the 39-year-old Florida Democrat calls herself a “mom boss.” The term comes from the 2016 book “Mom Boss: Balancing Entrepreneurship, Kids & Success” by Nicole Feliciano and is something of a movement, with women adding the hashtag #MomBoss to online discussions of how they balance children and work.

“I always say that the key to being a mom boss is a good pair of heels and a great pair of running shoes,” Murphy said after her 7 a.m. run down the National Mall, ending at the Washington Monument.

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“Running really helps to deal with stress and kind of clears your head before you start your day,” she added.

The freshman congresswoman runs about six miles three or four times a week, whether she’s in D.C. or at home in Florida with her two young children.

In D.C., she runs from her apartment, down to the Longworth House Office Building, where she spends the rest of her workday, down the Mall and then back to her apartment.

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“I always feel so proud to be an American running around what I think are symbols of our democracy, and it doesn’t get old for me,” she said. “I always feel this just incredible sense of pride and gratitude for being here.”

When she’s at home, she either runs around her neighborhood or finds herself running in other ways.

UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 15: Rep.-elect Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., walks down the House steps for the 115th Congress freshman class group photo on the House steps of the U.S. Capitol during orientation week in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Stephanie Murphy walks down the House steps on Nov. 15, 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“Usually, when I’m home with [my kids], I’m chasing them, so it’s a different kind of running,” she joked.

Murphy was an athlete in high school and started running distances when she was at the College of William & Mary, from which she graduated in 2000 with degrees in economics and international relations. Murphy got her first taste of D.C. when she received her master’s in foreign service from Georgetown University in 2004.

(Left to right) At the Army Ten-Miler in D.C., in October, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., with Rep. Garrett Graves, R-La., Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Brigadier General Brian E. Winski, U.S. Army’s Chief Legislative Liaison. (Courtesy Murphy)
From left to right, Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Garret Graves and Bradley Byrne pose with Brig. Gen. Brian E. Winski, the Army’s chief legislative liaison, at the Army Ten-Miler in D.C. in October. (Rep. Stephanie Murphy’s office)

Members of Congress who run on the Mall have found each other, whether by seeing each other during runs or by word of mouth. As a result, there’s an established group that sometimes runs together in the mornings.

“It’s always our bipartisan group that goes out for a run, and it’s a lot of fun to spend some time with each other away from the office,” Murphy said. “Just go out and enjoy the sights in D.C. and get a good run in before the day starts.”

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Leaving politics at the door is tough, but Murphy said they don’t focus too much on work.

“I think, naturally, members of Congress are programmed to talk politics, so there’s always a little of that, but then there’s some … chatter too,” she said. “It’s a nice mix.”

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