Richard Burr: Wikis


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Richard Burr

Assumed office 
January 3, 2005
Serving with Kay Hagan
Preceded by John Edwards

In office
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Stephen L. Neal
Succeeded by Virginia Foxx

Born November 30, 1955 (1955-11-30) (age 54)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Brooke F. Burr
Residence Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Alma mater Wake Forest University
Occupation Sales executive
Religion Methodist

Richard Mauze Burr (born November 30, 1955) is the senior United States Senator from North Carolina. A Republican, Burr represented North Carolina's 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for five terms, and was elected to represent North Carolina as a U.S. Senator in the 2004 election. He defeated the Democratic Party nominee, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, in the open seat contest. With the 2008 election of Kay Hagan (D), Burr became North Carolina's senior senator.



Burr was born in Charlottesville, Virginia to Martha Gillum and Rev. David Horace Burr, a minister.[1] He graduated from Richard J. Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. in 1974 and earned a B.A. from Wake Forest University in 1978. Burr was on the school football team at both Reynolds High School and Wake Forest. He is a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Prior to running for Congress, Burr worked for 17 years as a sales manager for Carswell Distributing Company, a distributor of lawn equipment.[2] Burr is currently a board member of Brenner Children's Hospital, as well as of the group Idealliance - a group of local, academic, and government officials working to expand North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad Research Park,[3]

In 1984, Burr married Brooke Fauth; the couple has two sons.

Burr's father claims he is a 12th cousin of Aaron Burr. He is the first Burr in the Senate—and only the second person with his last name to win election to Congress (the first being the presumably unrelated Albert G. Burr) -- since Aaron.[4][5]

House career

In 1992, Burr ran against incumbent Democratic Representative Stephen L. Neal and lost. He ran again in 1994 after Neal chose not to seek re-election, and was elected to Congress during a landslide year for Republicans. He ran on a platform that advocated accountability for the federal government, lower health care costs, economic development, and strong school systems[6]. Burr was elected to the legislature by increasingly large margins during his term in the House, especially because of growing Republican trends within his district.

Senate career

In July 2004, Burr won the Republican primary to seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat John Edwards, who launched a presidential campaign. He faced Democratic party nominee Erskine Bowles and Libertarian Tom Bailey.

Burr won the election by five percentage points. His and Bowles' combined campaign expenditures totaled over $26 million, making it one of the most expensive Senate races in the country. Burr raised more money from political action committees, $2.8 million, than any other Senate candidate in 2004, primarily from the business community.

In 2007, Burr ran for the leadership post of Republican Conference chairman[7] but lost to Sen. Lamar Alexander by a vote of 31 to 16.[8]


Committee assignments

2010 election

Burr has been listed as one of the Senate incumbents most likely to face a difficult re-election race in 2010. One poll in June 2009 found that only 29 percent of North Carolina voters supported Burr for another term, while 49 percent preferred that he be replaced.[9] No incumbent has won re-election to North Carolina's Class 3 Senate seat since 1968.

A recent poll by Rasmussen found Burr ahead of longtime Secretary of State Elaine Marshall 48% to 38% and ahead of Congressman Bob Etheridge 48% to 34%.[10] Charlie Cook, of the eponymous Cook Political Report, has Burr's seat listed as "Likely Republican".[11]

Burr is being challenged in the Republican primary by Eddie Burks, a city councilman from Asheboro.[12]

Political positions

Burr is pro-life, supports the death penalty, and favors a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He also co-sponsored a bill prohibiting the creation of human-animal hybrids.[13]

In May 2007, Burr was one of 14 Senators to vote against an Iraq War funding bill despite his strong support of the war, due to his opposition to the clauses of the bill that provided for an increase in domestic spending.[14] In February 2009, he added an amendment to the proposed economic stimulus package that would end the automatic pay increases of Congress.[15] Burr wrote on his Senate blog: "As the law is currently written, Congress has to hold a vote to disapprove an automatic pay raise. As you can guess, these votes don't happen too often."[15]


Burr has generally received low ratings from environmental-protection organizations. In 2007-2008, for example, he received a rating of 0% from Environment America[16], 12% from the League of Conservation Voters, and 29% from Republicans for Environmental Protection.[17]

Burr was one of 21 senators who voted against the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.[18] Supporters of this measure did so to protect millions of acres of wild land,[19][20] stating that its provisions enjoyed bipartisan backing in Congress and strong local support in the areas affected.[21] Opponents said that it was laden with expensive earmarks,[22] and noted that it precluded oil and gas production on large tracts of federal land,[23] and said that it would harm rural economies.[24]

The American Land Rights Association, a property-rights group[25] generally opposed to the expansion of national parks and in favor of less restrictions on public lands, gave him a rating of 70 in 2007.[17]


On June 26, 2007, Burr voted in favor of cloture for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007. Two days later, he voted against cloture.


Burr opposes the regulation of the tobacco industry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).[26] During the 108th Congress, Burr proposed the National Uniformity for Food Act, which would have banned states from forcing manufacturers to include labels other than those that are required by the Food and Drug Administration on consumables and health and beauty products.[27] The Consumers Union opposed the bill, since it would have lowered safety regulations that are more stringent in certain states.[3] A similar bill passed the House, but it died in the more politically balanced Senate.

Biodefence and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development

Burr was the sponsor of Senate bill 1873, the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act of 2005, nicknamed "Bioshield Two", which he says will give the Department of Health and Human Services "additional authority and resources to partner with the private sector to rapidly develop drugs and vaccines." .[28] Portions of Senate Bill 1873 were eventually included in Senate Bill 3678 (the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act[29]), which was signed into law in December 2006.

Healthcare Reform

Senator Burr is a vocal opponent of President Obama's Healthcare Reform bill, stating on his site that the President's health care proposal ignores demands of the American people.[30] Critics note that he was #2[31] for senators to receive contributions to their campaign committees and leadership PACs between January and September from HMOs and health services interests, as well as health and accident insurers. They also note that he was #1 for funding from pharmaceuticals companies.[32]. Some have speculated that his position may have been dictated by these contributions of $67,150 and $168,719 respectively.

Electoral history

North Carolina's 5th congressional district: Results 1992–2002[33]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
1992 Stephen L. Neal 117,835 53% Richard Burr 102,086 46% Gary Albrecht Libertarian 3,758 2% *
1994 A. P. "Sandy" Sands 63,194 43% Richard Burr 84,741 57%
1996 Neil Grist Cashion, Jr. 74,320 35% Richard Burr 130,177 62% Barbara J. Howe Libertarian 4,193 2% Craig Berg Natural Law 1,008 <1%
1998 Mike Robinson 55,806 32% Richard Burr 119,103 68% Gene Paczelt Libertarian 1,382 1%
2000 (no candidate) Richard Burr 172,489 93% Steven Francis LeBoeuf Libertarian 13,366 7%
2002 David Crawford 58,558 30% Richard Burr 137,879 70%
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, write-ins received 4 votes.
North Carolina Senator (Class III) 2004 results:[33]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2004 Erskine Bowles 1,632,527 47% Richard Burr 1,791,450 52% Tom Bailey Libertarian 47,743 1% *
*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2004, Walker F. Rucker received 362 votes.


  1. ^ 1
  2. ^
  3. ^ U.S. Senate: Senators Home > Senator Richard Burr
  4. ^ Durham Herald-Sun
  5. ^ Burr is former veep's 12th cousin | projects
  6. ^
  7. ^ | Burr wants policy position
  8. ^ Alexander elected to GOP’s No. 3 spot on Nashville City Paper
  9. ^ Public Policy Polling (June 17, 2009). "Just 29% say Burr deserves another term". Press release. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  10. ^ Template:Title = 2010 North Carolina Senate: GOP’s Burr Tops Foes by 10 Or More
  11. ^ Template:Title = Cook Political Report
  12. ^ "Asheboro council member to challenge Burr". Greensboro, NC News & Record. 2010-01-21. Retrieved 2010-02-02.
  13. ^ Search Results - THOMAS (Library of Congress)
  14. ^ U.S. Senate: Legislation & Records Home > Votes > Roll Call Vote
  15. ^ a b Barrett, Barb (2009-02-06). "Burr: Congress should feel pinch too". News & Observer. 
  16. ^ Frishberg, Ivan and Eric Reeves. Environment America Congressional Scorecard 2009. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  17. ^ a b "Interest Group Ratings: Senator Richard M. Burr (NC): Environmental Issues". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
  18. ^ "Voting Record: Senator Richard M. Burr (NC): Environmental Issues". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  19. ^ Karpinski, Gene. "Support S.22" (letter to U.S. House members). League of Conservation Voters. 2009-03-10. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  20. ^ Slater, Dave. "Wilderness vote down to the Wire: House passage of long-awaited legislation looks uncertain". The Wilderness Society. 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  21. ^ "The Nature Conservancy Urges Passage of Omnibus Public Lands Management Act". The Nature Conservancy. 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  22. ^ "Dr. Coburn Calls Omnibus Lands Package a Return to Business As Usual". Tom Coburn, M.D. (U.S. Senate website). 2009-01-06. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  23. ^ Josten, R. Bruce. "To the members of the U.S. Senate". Reproduced at Tom Coburn, M.D. (U.S. Senate website). 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  24. ^ "Oppose Omnibus Land Grab Act of 2009". Save the Trails. Retrieved 2010-01-10.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Craver, Richard (2008-11-10). "Burr, Hagan promise to work for N.C.". Winston-Salem Journal. 
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ — 'Pharma To Republicans — Time To Pay Up Again', Evelyn Pringle (November 24, 2005)
  29. ^ [2]Senate Bill S 3678 of the 109th Congress
  30. ^ "Richard Burr, United States Senator North Carolina". United States Senate. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  31. ^ "Stakeholders in Health Insurance Reform Debate Gave Big to Senators - Capital Eye". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  32. ^ "Stakeholders in Health Insurance Reform Debate Gave Big to Senators - Capital Eye". OpenSecrets. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  33. ^ a b "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2007-08-08. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Stephen L. Neal
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from North Carolina's 5th congressional district

1995 – 2005
Succeeded by
Virginia Foxx
United States Senate
Preceded by
John Edwards
United States Senator (Class 3) from North Carolina
2005 – present
Served alongside: Elizabeth Dole, Kay Hagan
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Mark Pryor
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Jim DeMint
R-South Carolina


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