Where Are They Now: Former vice mayor reflects on growth in city, career

Maricopa native Brent Murphree works for The Cotton Board in the Memphis, Tennessee area. But he hopes to return home someday. Photo courtesy of Farm Press.

It has been three years since Brent Murphree’s career in the cotton industry took him away from his Rancho El Dorado home and local roots.

The Maricopa native now lives in the Memphis, Tennessee, area where he works for The Cotton Board, an oversight and administration arm of the Cotton Research & Promotion Program, representing U.S. Upland cotton.

Brent Murphree is a 1977 graduate of Maricopa High School. Photo courtesy of Brent Murphree.

A graduate of Maricopa High School class of 1977, Murphree was present for most of the city’s milestones. He was on the committee that incorporated the city in 2003 and was appointed to Maricopa’s first city council. He served on the Flood Control District Board, was president of the Maricopa Historical Society and was vice mayor for seven years.

Murphree is happy to see how far the town has come since his days working the family business as a third-generation cotton farmer.

“The new library and City Hall are on my grandmother’s old farm. Whether or not the name is on it or anything, I have a sense of pride in that fact,” he said. “I like watching those things and seeing how they develop.”

While Murphree’s work for The Cotton Board has included field work – interviews, meetings and photos on location – COVID-19 now has him mostly working from home. As the content director for Farm Press magazine’s Southwest/West region, Murphree provides readers in-depth news on farming and agribusiness. He is in the process of taking a new position as editor of the Mid-South region’s Delta Farm Press.

“In terms of my career, I’ve always written. I’ve always done something writing whether it’s promotions or public relations,” Murphree said. “Now I’m just doing a lot of reporting on the general (agriculture) industry and really enjoying it.”

Murphree is enjoying his life in Tennessee, but said he misses the West and anticipates coming back one day.

“Maricopa’s always going to be my home,” he said.

Brent Murphree and his brother, Patrick, back in the day. Photo courtesy of Brent Murphree.

Age: 60
Occupation: Editor for Delta Farm Press
Residence: Mason, Tennessee
Education: Journalism degree from Arizona State University
Family: No children.
Favorite Maricopa memory: “My greatest memories took place at the Maricopa Community Pool. We’d all accumulate at the pool over the long hot summer days and end up in swim practice at the end of the day. We had a pretty strong team and competed against towns that were slightly larger than us in the area – Casa Grande, Coolidge, Eloy and a few more further away.”

This story appears in the September issue of InMaricopa magazine.