Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Rep. Michael Burgess (R)

Texas | District 26

N/A

burgess.house.gov

Biography

Elected: 2002, 6th term.

Born: December 23, 1950, Rochester, MN

Home: Lewisville, TX

Education: N. TX St. U., B.S. 1972, M.S. 1976, U. of TX Med. Schl., M.D. 1977, U. of TX Dallas, M.S. 2000

Professional Career: Practicing obstetrician, 1981-2003.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Anglican

Family: Married (Laura) , 3 children ; 2 grandchildren

Michael Burgess, a conservative Republican physician first elected in 2002, is a spokesman for House Republicans on health care issues. He also has close connections with former GOP presidential candidates—he was Arizona Sen. John McCain’s point person on health care policy in 2008 and encouraged former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to run in 2012.

Burgess grew up in Denton County, the son of a physician, and graduated from the University of North Texas and the University of Texas Medical School in Houston. He trained at Parkland Hospital in Dallas and set up an obstetrics-gynecology practice in Lewisville. After 21 years in practice, Burgess decided to run for Congress, his first bid for elective office. When House Majority Leader Dick Armey announced in December 2001 that he would not run again, there was no doubt that a Republican would succeed him. But almost no one expected that the winner would be political novice Burgess. The widespread expectation was that the winner would be the majority leader’s son, Scott Armey, 32, a former Denton County judge.

In the primary, Armey outspent Burgess by more than 6-to-1. But turnout was light—only 25,000 people out of 456,000 voting-age residents took part. There were no Republican primary contests at the top of the ticket, and there didn’t seem to be much suspense about the outcome. Armey won 45% of the vote, which was not enough to avoid a runoff. Burgess won 23%. Then, in the four-week runoff campaign, Burgess benefited from a series of hard-hitting articles in the The Dallas Morning News about Scott Armey’s record as a county judge, which suggested he had used his position to steer county jobs and contracts to close friends, including a $1.5 million transportation consulting contract.

Burgess focused on health care and taxes. He had helped to draft the Texas Patients’ Bill of Rights and vowed to do the same on a national level. In another low-turnout affair, Burgess won 55%-45% in the runoff. Armey carried Collin and Tarrant counties, but tellingly lost 60%-40% in Denton County, where he was known best. After the runoff, his formerly powerful father spoke bitterly of the newspaper’s“vicious unprofessionalism” and accused the paper of a vendetta against the Armey family. In the general election, Burgess won 75%-23% over his Democrat opponent. He has been reelected comfortably since.

In the House, Burgess has a reliably conservative voting record. He joined the Tea Party Caucus when it formed in 2010. Also that year, he voted “present” on a resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam-era shootings at Kent State University because he said the measure implied that the National Guard was at fault. He has for several years pushed legislation to implement a flat tax, a popular idea with conservatives that would replace the federal income tax with a 23% sales tax on goods and services. He drew headlines in August 2011 when, while attending a tea party meeting, he responded to a question about whether impeaching President Barack Obama would tie up Obama’s agenda by saying there was “no question” that it would. When a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter asked later about the comment, he said: “We need to tie things up. The longer we allow the damage to continue unchecked, the worse things are going to be for us.” But he said later that he didn’t advocate impeachment.

Burgess is best known for his work on health care issues, especially since he joined the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has broad jurisdiction over the medical industry. As vice chairman of its health subcommittee, he emerged as one of the most effective inquisitors during the health care hearings in 2011, and fellow Republicans regularly yielded him their extra time so he could ask pointed questions of Obama administration officials. He was especially vocal about seeking to fully defund the law in the fiscal 2011 budget, an idea that House Republican leaders sought to defuse. His nine-part plan for health care reform includes many of the ideas that successful GOP candidates espoused in the 2010 and 2012 elections, including allowing patients to shop for insurance across state lines and limiting damages in malpractice lawsuits. He also took an active role in subsequent Republican investigations into potential deals that the White House made with outside groups to pass the law.

But Burgess has shown that he is not a reflexive partisan. In the 111th Congress (2009-10), he was the lone Republican to vote with House Democrats to permanently fix the formula determining Medicare reimbursements for doctors. He also was part of a bipartisan group that introduced legislation in April 2011 ensuring that seniors who show signs of Alzheimer’s receive a formal diagnosis from their doctor. And in March 2009, he joined a bipartisan agreement to permit the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic versions of biologic drugs.

Burgess has made some inroads into the GOP leadership. He served as vice chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, which hammers out the party’s positions on issues. But he keeps his distance from the Texas GOP establishment. He and Rep. Ron Paul were the only two Texas Republicans to back Ted Cruz in Cruz’s successful Senate primary bid against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in 2012. And while other Lone Star State lawmakers were backing Gov. Rick Perry in that year’s presidential race, Burgess came out early for Gingrich. He told The Morning News that in late 2009, he wanted to find a Republican “who could possibly be on a stage with President Obama and articulate an alternative vision for the country in a concise and persuasive way.” So he went to see the former House speaker, whom he had befriended. “I said, ‘Sir, your country is calling you.’ It was a call to duty,” he recalled.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7772

(202) 225-2919

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2336
Washington, DC 20515-4326

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-7772

(202) 225-2919

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2336
Washington, DC 20515-4326

DISTRICT OFFICE

(940) 497-5031

(940) 497-5067

2000 South Stemmons Freeway Suite 200
Lake Dallas, TX 75065-3637

DISTRICT OFFICE

(940) 497-5031

(940) 497-5067

2000 South Stemmons Freeway Suite 200
Lake Dallas, TX 75065-3637

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(940) 320-5020

PO Box 2334
Denton, TX 76202-2334

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

PO Box 2334
Denton, TX 76202-2334

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Danielle Steele
Health Legislative Assistant; Confressional Health Caucus

Acquisitions

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Agriculture

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Appropriations

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Budget

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Disaster

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Energy

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Environment

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Health

Robert Butora
Legislative Assistant

Danielle Steele
Health Legislative Assistant; Confressional Health Caucus

Judiciary

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Medicare

Danielle Steele
Health Legislative Assistant; Confressional Health Caucus

Rules

Kelle Strickland
Chief of Staff

Tax

James Decker
Policy Coordinator

Telecommunications

Kelle Strickland
Chief of Staff

Rachel Huggins
Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Rachel Huggins
Legislative Assistant

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Michael Burgess
Votes: 176,642
Percent: 68.27%
David Sanchez
Votes: 74,237
Percent: 28.69%
2012 PRIMARY
Michael Burgess
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Michael Burgess
Votes: 120,984
Percent: 67.05%
Neil Durrance
Votes: 55,385
Percent: 30.7%
2010 PRIMARY
Michael Burgess
Votes: 44,047
Percent: 85.81%
James Herford
Votes: 7,284
Percent: 14.19%
2008 GENERAL
Michael Burgess
Votes: 195,181
Percent: 60.17%
Ken Leach
Votes: 118,167
Percent: 36.43%
2008 PRIMARY
Michael Burgess
Votes: 41,328
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (67%), 2008 (60%), 2006 (60%), 2004 (66%), 2002 (75%)

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