Tennessee State Senator Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey) has announced that she will retire at the end of her current term. She will not seek re-election to serve the 15th District, which includes Overton, Cumberland, Jackson, Bledsoe, Putnam and White counties.
The next election is scheduled for August 2014.
A native of Jackson County, she owns a farm in Monterey where she raised her family and has resided for nearly 50 years. Burks has three daughters, 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
The only occupation she has ever known is that of a farmer.
She has served in the State Legislature since 1998 when the people of the 15th District made her a part of Tennessee history by electing her as the first ever “write-in” candidate to the State Senate after the murder of her late husband, State Senator Tommy Burks, by a political opponent.
During her tenure in office, Burks has served on numerous committees, including Ethics, Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, Education, Government Operations, and Select Committee on Children and Youth.
She has also received multiple awards and recognitions for her work as a state senator. Much of her focus has been in the areas of education, domestic violence, and issues concerning children. She has been an eight-time recipient of the “Legislator of the Year” award from the Tennessee Coalition against Domestic and Sexual Violence for her work in those areas. She also received national recognition from the U.S. Attorney General’s Foundation for Improvement for Justice.
Sen. Burks’ first efforts in Nashville focused on completing some of the work started by her late husband. He had been successful in getting a constitutional amendment on the state ballot for a “Victims Bill of Rights, which passed in the November 1998 election. Ironically, this was after he himself became a victim of crime and lost his own life. She completed his work by drafting and passing the legislation that made the provisions of the amendment into law. She also passed a bill that allowed inmates in local jails to pick up litter on state highways on which he had been working.
When asked what stands out in her mind as the most important legislation on which she worked, she replied, “My work on the fight against meth in our state.”
“I have tried to focus on the issues that are important to our families and our everyday life,” Burks commented.
“It has been an honor to represent the people of the 15th Senatorial District over the years,” Burks reflected.