John Burris (politician)

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John Burris
Minority Leader of the Arkansas House of Representatives
In office
January 10, 2011 – January 2013
Preceded byBryan King
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 85th district
In office
January 12, 2009 – December 31, 2012
Preceded byJames Norton
Succeeded byDavid Whitaker
Member of the Arkansas House of Representatives
from the 98th district
In office
January 2013 – January 2015
Preceded byDonna Hutchinson
Succeeded byRon McNair
Personal details
Born1985 (age 36–37)
Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
Political partyRepublican
Residence(s)Harrison, Arkansas
Alma materBergman High School
Arkansas Tech University
ProfessionSubstitute teacher

John Burris (born 1985) is a Republican former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives. First elected in 2008, Burris represented District 85, which included Harrison and part of Boone County. In the 2012 election, he was switched to District 98 in Benton County, in which Republican incumbent Donna Hutchinson was term-limited.

In 2010, Burris was elected by members of the House Republican Caucus to serve as Minority Leader. At the age of twenty-five in 2010, Burris was the youngest serving member of the Arkansas General Assembly and the youngest Minority Leader in the history of the state. However, he is not the youngest person ever elected to the Arkansas House.

Burris's work in the legislature earned him a spot in the Arkansas Business Journal's 2009 list of the top "20 in their 20s".[1] His legislative philosophy is: "As a legislator, you can't change the world, but you can help people one at a time."

Burris was the leading spokesman for the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion proposal, which he had considered essential to keep open many rural hospitals in Arkansas. Under the plan, federal Medicaid funds are earmarked to purchase health insurance for the indigent.[2]

Burris did not seek re-nomination in District 98 in the state House in the primary election held on May 20, 2014. Instead, he was forced into a runoff with fellow Republican Scott Flippo, a businessman from Mountain Home in Baxter County, for the District 17 seat in the Arkansas State Senate vacated by the term-limited Johnny Key. Burris led the balloting with 43 percent of the vote, compared to 42 percent for Flippo. A third candidate, David Osmon, held the remaining but critical 16 percent of the votes cast.[3]

Burris was defeated in the June 10 runoff election for the state Senate. Flippo then ran without opposition in the general election. He carried the backing of several Republican lawmakers who oppose the "private option" championed by Burris.[2] Another surrogate for the Flippo campaign was Curtis Coleman, an opponent of the private option plan who lost the Republican gubernatorial nomination to Asa Hutchinson in 2014. Coleman carried only Flippo's native Baxter County in the race against Hutchinson.[4]

Meanwhile, Ron McNair, with 1,245 votes (52 percent), defeated Jeff Boggs, with 1,166 votes (48 percent), to win the Republican nomination to succeed Burris in House District 98 beginning in January 2015.[3]

After his Senate bid, Burris returned to his position as political director of the campaign of U.S. Representative Tom Cotton of Arkansas's 4th congressional district, who handily unseated U.S. Senator Mark Pryor in the general election held on November 4, 2014.[4]


  1. ^ "Entrepreneur - Start, run and grow your business". Entrepreneur. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Flippo beats Burris in Arkansas state Senate race". KATV. June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Arkansas Primary Election Results, May 20, 2014". KATV. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Andrew DeMillo (June 8, 2014). "State Senate race focuses on Medicaid expansion". Wichita Eagle. Archived from the original on June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 21, 2014.

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