As you know, Congressman Dan Burton shocked the media and political observers when he announced from the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives that he would not seek reelection after fifteen terms in the US House of Representatives. The announcement came from the location that Dan Burton began his political career back in 1966.
I have always had a very deep admiration for Dan Burton in a very peripheral sense. We have crossed paths, met and even spoken to each other dozens of times, though I doubt that he actually knows me. Yet, some of my closest friends, colleagues and advisors were among the inner circle of the Congressman's closest advisors. Bill Smith, who first hired me some twenty years ago at IFI, and serves on my board at AFA had been the Congressman's first campaign manager and chief of staff. (Bill is now Congressman Pence's Chief of Staff.) The Congressman's brother, State Representative Woody Burton, is a close friend in the Indiana House. State Senator Mike Delph is also one of my closest friends in the Indiana Senate. He served as Congressman Burton's District Director, and there are many others in government who were mentored by the Congressman like Former Rep. Jim Atterholt who is now the head of the Indiana Regulatory Utilities Commission. Each of these high-caliber individuals seem to have a lot of Dan's fighter instinct that has rubbed off on them. It is a legacy in government that few other political icons in Indiana can match.
Congressman Burton reminds me of what Winston Churchill once said. He noted that the bulldog was his favorite animal because it was among the few that could bite onto something and still breath. Congressman Burton has been a fighter who clamped onto many issues of value to AFA of Indiana and, regardless of the opposition, never let go. His voting record is near perfect with a host of conservative groups including the Family Research Council. He has a list of enemies, who often get a lot of media attention. The Congressman's personal shortcomings large or small always made front-page news to the joy of his detractors. On this day, it is worth remembering that he has a host of people and constituents who deeply appreciate his service and consistent dedication to conservative principles. AFA and I are among them.