At a Glance
- Career History: Practicing obstetrician (1981-2003)
- Birthday: Dec. 23, 1950
- Hometown: Rochester, Minn.
- Alma Mater: North Texas State University, B.S. 1972, M.S. 1976; University of Texas Medical School, M.D. 1977
- Spouse: Laura
- Religion: Episcopalian
- Committees: House Energy and Commerce Committee, Joint Economic Committee
- DC Office: 1224 Longworth House Office Building, 202-225-7772
- District Offices: Fort Worth, 817-531-8454; Lewisville, 972-434-9700
Path to Power
Burgess was born in Rochester, Minn., but he grew up in Denton County, Texas, as the son of physician Harry Burgess. He attended the University of North Texas and the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, and completed his residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. After school, Burgess established his own Ob-gyn practice where he worked for 21 years, delivering over 3,000 babies.
In the 2002 election, after Dick Armey decided not to run again, Burgess won an improbable victory in the Republican primary over Armey's son and political heir-apparent, Scott Armey, a former Denton County judge. In a low-profile primary with light turnout, Burgess managed to win 23 percent of the vote to Armey's 45 percent, forcing a run-off.
Burgess has generally maintained a conservative voting record, and has so far voted with his House Republican colleagues 94.6 percent of the time in the 111th Congress.In his first term, while serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he worked to adjust the funding formula to favor his home state and get Texas "its fair share" of federal money.
In large part because of his 21 years as a practicing physician, Burgess has become an important voice in the Republican Party on health-care reform. He supports market-friendly approaches to health care - in particular, tax-deductible Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that would allow independence from employer-based group insurance policies. In his early years in the House, Burgess chaired the Health subcommittee of the Republican Policy Committee and later became vice-chairman of the committee. He vocally supported George W. Bush's efforts to limit federal funding of stem- cell research.
Burgess often discusses ideas with a group of other Republican physicians, including Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), while also participating in other working groups to discuss the Republican response to President Obama and the Democratic Party's forthcoming health- care legislation. Burgess is also a member of the Medical and Dental Doctors in Congress Caucus, created in 2005 and currently chaired by Reps. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) and Vic Snyder (D-Ark.).
In the 2008 presidential contest, Burgess endorsed McCain in February 2008, after he became the presumptive Republican nominee. "Republicans across the country recognize that John McCain is the candidate who can unite our party for victory in November," he said in a press release.