Originally created 05/26/06

'I was prepared to tell the truth: I was not involved' in scheme



When children are young and they dart out into the street, a parent instinctively escorts them back onto the sidewalk to get them to safety.

Although my children are older than that, I feel like the parent who has to run to their rescue. They need my love and support. I need to be at home with them instead of in Atlanta so many months a year.

That, in a nutshell, is why I am not running for a fourth term as a member of the Georgia General Assembly.

Period. End of story.

I am devoted to the work I do in the Legislature, but right now my children have personal issues, and so, they must come first.

DESPITE QUESTIONS raised during the past few weeks about my potential testimony during the federal trial of former state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko, my decision not to run had absolutely nothing to do with that case. Instead, one more painful event happened this spring with one of my children. That solidified my decision to stay out of politics for a while.

To set the record straight, Ms. Schrenko was a business and political acquaintance because of my earlier work with the state and local PTA. But we never even shared a meal together.

The U.S. Attorney's office subpoenaed me as a witness for the prosecution. I was prepared to tell the truth: I was not involved with Ms. Schrenko or the financial dealings of her office. I really knew nothing about it.

What I do know is that I have a record of integrity. For example, when Democrats were screaming about legislation requiring a photo ID to vote, I was the one who bravely took the heat for the Republican leadership who asked me to carry the bill. I sat calmly in my seat when some Democrats literally threw shackles on my desk and walked out of the House chamber in protest.

When the pro-abortion forces angrily lobbied against legislation requiring a woman to wait 24 hours before obtaining an abortion, I argued that cool heads should prevail. They did, and this common-sense legislation passed.

AND WHEN the medical community was torn this year about whether to allow Georgia to become the 50th state to allow advanced practice registered nurses to write prescriptions for limited medications, I brokered the compromise. Now consumers have greater access to health care and will not have to wait in long lines at doctors' offices for minor ailments or routine medication refills. They can see these nurses instead.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a legislator who is tough, hard-working and honest. The only thing more important to me than implementing good public policy is my family. It is because of my family - and that reason only - that I will temporarily bow out of politics.

AS I SAID in the statement I released when I decided not to run, I really do believe in family values. What's the point of passing legislation that is pro-family if you are not there when your children really need you?

I spent a lot of time getting close to God and praying about this decision not to run again because I love serving the people of Augusta and Georgia. Someday, when all my children are grown and free from these troubles, I may run again for elected office. But in the meantime, it has been my pleasure to represent the people of Richmond and Columbia counties in the Georgia Legislature.

(Editor's note: Burmeister, a Republican, represents District 119 in the Georgia House, and is the secretary/treasurer of the House Republican Caucus and serves as vice chairman of the House Rules Committee.)