Charles McBurney (politician)

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Charles McBurney
Charles McBurney State House.jpg
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 16th district
Assumed office
September 18, 2007
Preceded by Mark Mahon
Personal details
Born (1957-06-06) June 6, 1957 (age 58)
Orlando, Florida
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Deborah McBurney
Children (Step) Katherine Areford, Madeline Areford
Alma mater University of Florida (B.A.) (J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Presbyterian

Charles McBurney (born June 6, 1957) is a Republican member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 16th District, which includes parts of downtown Jacksonville in southern Duval County, since 2007.


McBurney was born in Orlando, and was raised in part by his stepfather, William V. Chappell, Jr., who served as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and as the United States Congressman from Florida's 4th congressional district from 1969 to 1989. Following his graduation from high school, McBurney attended the University of Florida, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1979, and his Juris Doctor in 1982. He started the Charles W. McBurney, Jr., Law Firm, where he continues to work as a commercial lawyer.

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

When incumbent State Representative James B. Fuller was unable to seek re-election in 2000 due to term limits, McBurney ran to succeed him in the 16th District. He faced Mark Mahon in the Republican primary, which was coterminous with the general election because no other candidates filed for the seat. Mahon narrowly defeated McBurney by 416 votes, receiving 51% of the votes.

In 2007, Mahon was appointed by then-Governor Charlie Crist to serve as a Judge on the 4th Judicial Circuit, thus vacating his seat and necessitating a special election to replace him. McBurney ran in the special election to succeed Mahon. In the Republican primary, he faced former Jacksonville City Councilman Lad Daniels, who was under fire for allegedly violating open meetings laws while serving on the City Council and for misleading voters into believing that the city's police and firefighter unions had endorsed him.[1] McBurney ended up winning the primary over Daniels by a wide margin, receiving 63% of the vote and advancing onto the general election, where he faced Debra-Jahns Nelsen, the Democratic nominee. Owing to the conservative nature of the district, McBurney defeated Nelsen in a landslide, winning 79% of the vote.

In 2008, McBurney was elected to his first full term and second term overall without any opposition in either the primary or general elections. He encountered a primary challenge in 2010 in the form of Luis Melendez, whom he easily defeated with 84% of the vote. In the general election, McBurney faced independent candidate David Baldwin, campaigning on a platform of "no frills budgeting" to provide for an increase in education funding without a tax increase.[2] He ended up winning another term easily, besting Baldwin with 71% of the vote.

When legislative districts were reconfigured in 2012, McBurney remained in the 16th District, the composition of which did not significantly change. He won re-election without any opposition in the Republican primary or the general election.


In November 2012, while McBurney and his wife were driving on Interstate 10 to Tallahassee for the legislative session, he was pulled over by Charles Swindle, a state trooper. Swindle alleged that McBurney was traveling at 87 miles per hour, exceeding the 70 mile per hour speed limit in the area, but, in an effort "to be nice," Swindle decided to "cut [McBurney] a break" because he was a legislator and cite him only for not having proof of insurance. McBurney, in turn, claimed that his proof of insurance was not requested by Swindle nor was he traveling over the speed limit, and filed a complaint with David Brierton, the Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol then terminated Swindle's position for "conduct unbecoming a public employee."[3] Following his termination, Swindle requested a hearing before the Public Employee Relations Commission to attempt to regain his position.[4] The hearing officer recommended that Swindle be reinstated, and noted that a separate system existed for the treatment of lawmakers by Highway Patrol officers, which "is discussed at the training academy for new troopers, is reinforced by supervisors, and is informally discussed among other employees."[5] The First Court of Appeal upheld the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission ruling that Swindle should serve 120 hours (four weeks) suspension.[6]

In 2015, McBurnrey was widely criticized for cutting off and laughing at a 10-year-old who was testifying at a Florida House of Representatives meeting against an anti-gay adoption bill that would prohibit same sex couples from adopting children. McBurney responded that the video was taken out of context, that all were treated equally and the young man's entire remarks were published in the committee's record.[7][8]


  1. ^ Patton, Charlie (August 29, 2007). "McBurney tops Daniels in state House primary". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ Patterson, Steve (November 3, 2010). "Charles McBurney wins easy re-election to Florida House District 16". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  3. ^ Bousquet, Steve (March 26, 2013). "State trooper fired over traffic stop involving legislator". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bousquet, Steve (May 28, 2013). "Nine lawmakers won't have to testify in fired state trooper case". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Dixon, Matt (June 10, 2013). "Hearing officer recommends reinstatement for fired trooper, says FHP has "unwritten" policy for lawmakers". Florida Times-Union. Retrieved May 2, 2014. 
  6. ^ Tallahassee Democrat May 20, 2015
  7. ^ Stern, Mark. "Republican Legislator Cuts Off 10-Year-Old Testifying Against Anti-Gay Adoption Bill". Slate. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 
  8. ^ Parker, Jameson. "Republican Legislator Laughingly Cuts Off 10-Year-Old Testifying Against Anti-Gay Adoption Bill". Addicting Info. Retrieved 9 April 2015. 

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