|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Tennessee's 2nd district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2019
|Preceded by||Jimmy Duncan|
|Mayor of Knox County|
September 1, 2010 – September 1, 2018
|Preceded by||Mike Ragsdale|
|Succeeded by||Glenn Jacobs|
|Member of the Tennessee Senate|
from the 7th district
January 1999 – September 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Bud Gilbert|
|Succeeded by||Stacey Campfield|
|Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives|
from the 18th district
January 1995 – January 1999
|Preceded by||Maria Peroulas Draper|
|Succeeded by||Steven Buttry|
Timothy Floyd Burchett
August 25, 1964
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
(m. 2008; div. 2012)
Kelly Kimball (m. 2014)
|Education||University of Tennessee (BS)|
Timothy Floyd Burchett (born August 25, 1964) is an American politician who is currently the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 2nd congressional district, serving since 2019. A Republican, Burchett was formerly mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. He previously served in the Tennessee General Assembly, first in the Tennessee House of Representatives, in which he represented Tennessee's 18th District. He later served in the Tennessee State Senate, in which he represented Tennessee's District 7, part of Knox County. He was succeeded as Knox County Mayor on September 1, 2018 by Glenn Jacobs, formerly professional wrestling's Kane.
Early life and education
Burchett is a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was born in 1964 and attended West Hills Elementary School, Bearden Junior High School, and Bearden High School. After graduating from Bearden High School in 1982, he enrolled in the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he earned a B.S. degree in education.
Burchett's first election to public office was in 1994, when he won a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He served in the house for two two-year terms, from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, he was a successful candidate for a four-year term in the Tennessee State Senate, representing the 7th senatorial district. He succeeded Clyde Coulter "Bud" Gilbert. He twice won re-election to the state senate, serving a total of three four-year terms, from 1999 to 2010.
In 1999, Burchett received national media attention for sponsoring a bill to legalize the eating of roadkill, that is, wild animals killed by vehicles, before notifying the county game warden. He defended the proposal as a "common-sense thing" intended to prevent edible meat from being wasted. Eating roadkill was already legal – as it is in most places – but required prior notification to the county game warden. Burchett's bill allowed processing and consumption of roadkill before notifying the game warden. Burchett proposed the bill after being contacted by a constituent who had been penalized for giving a needy family the meat from a deer that his vehicle had accidentally hit on the highway.
Senator Burchett sponsored a bill in 2006 to make illegal "possessing, producing, manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to produce, manufacture, or distribute the active chemical ingredient in the hallucinogenic plant Salvia divinorum in the state of Tennessee." Burchett stated, "We have enough problems with illegal drugs as it is without people promoting getting high from some glorified weed that's been brought up from Mexico. The only people I’ve heard from who are opposed to making it illegal are those who are getting stoned on it." The bill was signed into law on May 19, 2006 and went into effect on July 1, 2006. Burchett originally wanted to make violations a felony offense, but the bill was amended during its passage to make it a Class A misdemeanor.
In a news report published shortly before the signing of the bill by Governor Phil Bredesen, Burchett was quoted as saying, "It's not that popular. But I'm one of those who believes in closing the barn door before the cows get out.... In certain hands, it could be very dangerous, even lethal." A store owner who had stopped selling the herb due to Burchett's bill said that he saw little point in banning salvia, "I have no idea why it's being outlawed. It's a sage. People in South America have been using it for years and years." The same report also gave the general counterargument of salvia proponents that legislation banning Salvia divinorum reflects a cultural bias, as there are fewer prohibitions on more addictive substances such as alcohol and nicotine, and questioned how effective the bill will be, pointing out that Salvia divinorum has no odor and is easy to grow, so enforcement will be difficult.
Knox County Mayor
Burchett became Knox County Mayor in September 2010, succeeding Mike Ragsdale, who left office due to term limits. Earlier that year, Burchett defeated former Knox County Sheriff Tim Hutchison in the Republican primary and then Democrat Ezra Maize in the general election.
On February 10, 2012, Mayor Tim Burchett appeared on WBIR-TV and officially announced that the county's first "cash mob" would be held at the Emory 5 & 10 store in South Knoxville. The cash mob gained national attention, and was mentioned in TIME magazine.
Burchett declared November 16, 2012 to be Official Knox County Bigfoot Day.
When 30-year incumbent Jimmy Duncan announced his retirement in July 2017, Burchett entered a crowded seven-way Republican primary to succeed him. He defeated his nearest challenger, state representative Jimmy Matlock, by just under 12 percentage points. He faced Democrat Renee Hoyos in the November general election. However, the 2nd has long been a Republican stronghold. It is one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South; the GOP and its predecessors have held it without interruption since 1857. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+20, it is one of the most Republican districts in the nation, and tied for the second-most Republican district in Tennessee.
As expected, Burchett won the general election in a rout, taking 65.9 percent of the vote to Hoyos' 33.1 percent. When he took office in January 2019, Burchett became only the seventh person (not counting caretakers) to represent the 2nd since 1909. He also ended a 54-year hold on the district by the Duncan family. John Duncan Sr. had won the seat in 1964, and was succeeded upon his death in 1988 by his son, Jimmy.
Campaign finance irregularities
In 2006, Burchett, then a state senator, failed to report six political action committee checks totaling $3,300. The Registry of Election Finance did not fine him. A claim of nepotism was opened when locals found out his step son was given preferred treatment with government jobs. The same step son who had rap and drugs charges recently.
Two years later, in 2008, while still a State Senator, he was fined $250 for failing to disclose three PAC contributions that totaled $1,500.
In 2012, an investigation into campaign finance irregularities involving Burchett's Knox County mayoral campaign fund began after the Knoxville News Sentinel published discrepancies in the campaign's financial reporting.
Independent freelance writer Pam Strickland filed a citizen complaint with the Tennessee State Ethics Board. Strickland writes a weekly column for the News Sentinel. On September 6, 2012 a "show cause" was issued by the Tennessee State Board of Ethics. The vote was 4-1.
Burchett blamed this third offence on his spouse, who had filed for divorce. He was not married during the first two offences. Unlike the first two offenses, a full audit and investigation was ordered on this third offense, revealing that almost $20,000 in campaign money had been misappropriated for personal use. On October 23, 2012 the State Board of Ethics decided to take no action against Burchett due to multiple corrective measures that were added before the meeting.
In February 2018 the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Burchett had failed to report a $10,000 payment from a solar electric company to him on his campaign finance forms and various financial disclosure forms. The story reported that two months earlier the FBI had questioned people regarding Burchett committing income tax evasion.
After the story broke, Burchett gave a statement to WBIR that he was correcting errors in his campaign financial disclosures and income tax forms, describing his failure to report all income as an "oversight".
In 2013 and after his divorce, $900 in cash was left by an unnamed person for Mayor Burchett on April 1, 2013. He was out of town and asked his chief executive assistant, Diana Wilson, to deposit the money in his personal account. The bank was closed, so she placed the money in an envelope and left it under the mat on Burchett's desk. The next morning, Wilson discovered that the money was missing, and notified the authorities immediately. After days of investigating, the money was not found and no suspects had developed. The local authorities notified the mayor's chief of staff that they needed to interview all the mayor's staff members. A few hours after being notified of this, the police were notified by Burchett's office that the money had been found. The police wanted to give polygraphs to two members of Burchett's staff. He refused to allow polygraphs, and ended the investigation.
Burchett received negative media attention in November 2012 for an item he posted on Twitter. During a football game that the Tennessee Volunteers were losing, he tweeted that he needed to get his nephew (a high school football player who hoped to be recruited by a university football program) "some tats and a criminal record so UT will be interested." Following public criticism of the tweet that criticized the football team of the university in his county, Burchett said: "I didn't think anyone read that stupid thing. It was probably up for about five minutes."
In June 2008, Tim Burchett married Allison Beaver in an impromptu ceremony conducted by Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen. This was his first marriage. Allison Burchett filed for divorce less than four years later, in April 2012, citing "irreconcilable differences"; the divorce was finalized later that year.
In July 2014, Burchett married his girlfriend, Kelly Kimball. He is known for wearing his glasses in a chain around his neck.
- "5 Aug 1994, Page 19 - The Tennessean at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "4 Nov 1998, Page 6 - The Tennessean at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Tennessee House Members 99th GA". www.capitol.tn.gov. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Tennessee Senate: Tim Burchett". Tennessee Senate: 105th General Assembly (2007-2008) (website archives). Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- "Mayor Tim Burchett Bio". Retrieved April 17, 2013.
- "Our Campaigns - TN Senate 07 Race - Nov 03, 1998". www.ourcampaigns.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Scott Barker and David Keim (August 20, 2008). "Burchett plans to run for county mayor". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- David Firestone (March 14, 1999). "Statehouse Journal; A Road-Kill Proposal Is Food for Jokesters". New York Times.
- "Senate Bill No. 3247; An Act to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 4, relative to certain hallucinogenic plants" (PDF). Public Acts 2006, Chapter 700. General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. May 2006. Archived from the original (pdf) on October 4, 2007.
- Nashville Bureau Reporter (April 2006). "The Senate passed (290-0) SB 3247". 8 (32). Nashville Bureau.
- Siebert, Daniel. "The Legal Status of Salvia divinorum". The Salvia divinorum Research and Information Center. Retrieved March 4, 2007.
- O'Rourke, Shea (May 24, 2006). "Smoking Out - Tennessee bill bans hallucinogenic herb salvia". Memphis Flyer. Archived from the original on September 9, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
- Mike Donila, Burchett: 'Precise plan' needed for mayor post, Knoxnews.com, August 6, 2010.
- Mike Donila (September 4, 2011). "One year in, Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett says he delivered". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- News, U. S. "'Cash mobs': Flash mobs go to bat for small local businesses". U.S. News. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Cryptids, Cryptomundo, (November 12, 2012). "Knox County Bigfoot Day". Cryptomundo. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
- Tennessee House results from CNN
- "Sources: FBI asks questions about Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett; mayor says 'no truth to any of it'". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- Sentinel), Rachel Wise (Knoxville News. "Burchett affidavit filed ahead of Tuesday hearing". www.documentcloud.org. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Ethics complaint: Tim Burchett never reported $10,000 payment while in state Senate". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
- "Knox Co. Mayor calls tax mistake an 'oversight'". wbir.com. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
- "Burchett theft case ended as cops got ready to give polygraphs". www.knoxnews.com. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett regrets tweet on Vols". Knoxville News Sentinel. November 10, 2012.
- "Sen. Tim Burchett ties the knot, Gov. Bredesen officiates". Knoxville, Tennessee: WATE-TV. June 17, 2008.
- "Sen. Burchett's getting hitched". Knoxville News Sentinel. April 22, 2008.
- Mike Donila (April 20, 2012). "Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett's wife files for divorce". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- Jamie Satterfield (October 1, 2012). "Mayor Burchett, estranged wife reach divorce settlement". Knoxville News Sentinel.
- "Knox Co. Mayor Getting Married," WBIR.com, July 9, 2014.
- Congressman Tim Burchett official U.S. House website
- Tim Burchett for Congress
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Tim Burchett at Ballotpedia
- Our Campaigns – Mayor Tim Burchett (TN) profile
- Tim Burchett State Senate profile
|Tennessee House of Representatives|
Maria Peroulas Draper
| Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
from the 18th district
| Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 7th district
| Mayor of Knox County
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 2nd congressional district
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Representatives by seniority
|116th||Senate: L. Alexander • M. Blackburn||House: J. Cooper • S. Cohen • P. Roe • S. DesJarlais • C. Fleischmann • D. Kustoff • T. Burchett • M. Green • J. Rose|