01/10/05 — Sen. Burr: Nothing sinister about his backers

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Sen. Burr: Nothing sinister about his backers

Sen. Richard Burr has been subjected to criticism and suspicion for having received more in political action committee contributions than any other candidate for the U.S. Senate this past year.

Individuals and editorialists keep pointing out Burr was the darling of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, public utilities groups and many big business and industrial organizations.

He is admonished that he must prove himself not to be the handmaiden of these “special interest” groups.

Burr, the son of a Presbyterian minister, had a successful career representing an appliance wholesale distribution firm before being elected to Congress, where he served five terms.

His service in the lower house apparently was exemplary. He served as vice chairman of the Energy and Commerce committee and on other important committees, including Health, Energy and Air Quality, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and subcommittees on Terrorism and Homeland Security, Counter Intelligence, National Security and others.

The senator is an unabashed fiscal conservative with a pro-business record. Contrary to the suggestions of some, this is not synonymous with being against the best interests of average citizens, the elderly, the poor, the unemployed and under-employed.

There is nothing sinister about being pro-business. This includes businesses large and small. After all, they create the vast majority of the nation’s jobs that keep the economy going and, directly or indirectly, generate the taxes that provide for our national defense, schools and public services.

Richard Burr was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He knows what it is to come up in modest circumstances, to work hard to attain success in the private sector.

Those who observed him as a young man traveling his territory were so impressed with him that they encouraged him to offer for service in the U.S. Congress.

And they liked the way he represented them — all of them — in Washington. Special interests? Indeed, Richard Burr had a special interest: The well-being and the opportunities of his constituents, all of them, whether they were hourly employees, managers or business owners — large and small — or retirees.

Unlike his predecessor in the Senate, he spent most of his time in Washington tending to his duties and looking after his people and their concerns.

That the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is made up of people like those who run businesses and provide professional services in communities like our own across the country, holds him such high esteem should be seen as reassuring, rather than ominous.

Despite the subtle suggestions of some critics, it is not incumbent on the freshman senator to prove to them that he is an anti-business, fiscal liberal.

Published in Editorials on January 10, 2005 12:02 PM