Senator Burke announces re-election campaignPublished 9:11pm Tuesday, February 4, 2014
With qualifying less than one month away, political candidates are beginning to announce their campaigns in Southwest Georgia.
Georgia Sen. Dr. Dean Burke, R-Bainbridge, announced to the Post-Searchlight he would be seeking reelection in 2014 — launching a campaign just shy of one year after his entry into the state senate with a special election.
In 2013, a special election was held for the District 11 Senate seat after John Bulloch resigned citing health problems. District 11 includes Early Miller, Seminole, Decatur, Grady and Colquitt counties. Also in District 11 are parts of Mitchell and Thomas counties.
Burke said he is proud of his accomplishments in the last year and wants a chance to continue on serving the district as a senator.
“I feel like the accomplishments that I have made have been productive from the standpoint of Southwest Georgia, and I want to keep that momentum going,” Burke said.
Burke, a former Bainbridge city council member and current chief of staff at Memorial Hospital and Manor, said his top two priorities are water and healthcare.
“Healthcare is the second biggest part of the budget for the state and being the only physician in the senate, I have a lot of influence in the direction the state is going there and I would like to continue that,” Burke said.
Burke said he has also worked to bring stakeholders together regarding water usage in the lower part of the state.
“We have made some progress in getting the agricultural community together with the (Georgia Environmental Protection Division) and working on some ways to help protect the water if we do get into this lawsuit (with the state of Florida,)” Burke said.
Burke noted he has also worked as an advocate of public education, while many other legislatures are in areas with private school constituents. Burke said District 11 relies heavily on public education.
As for other candidates, Burke said he does not know if anyone is opposing him as of yet, but qualifying begins the first week of March.
“I don’t have a personal agenda,” Burke said. “I am just trying to support Southwest Georgia and we are outnumbered. There are a lot more metro legislatures than rural now — unlike there were in the past — so we don’t have any room to not have an effective person in all of our positions.”