Eric Burlison has his sights set on taking the spirit of the Ozarks to Jefferson City.
Burlison won election to the Missouri Senate by taking more than 73 percent of the vote in the race for the Missouri 20th Senate District with all precincts reporting. Winning the election with was the first step toward a loftier goal of serving the maximum-allowable eight years.
“You want to make it meaningful and you want to have a tremendous impact for the people that you know and love,” Burlison said.
Burlison took 62,247 votes to Democrat Jim Billedo's 22,006.
Burlison is an experienced lawmaker, having served as a state representative for the past eight years. He will replace State Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa, whose time in the Missouri General Assembly ends because of term limits.
“Jay has a great legacy. He has not only served as our senator, but he served as a state representative before that and then as a mayor in Nixa,” Burlison said.
Burlison said he got to know Wasson while the two served together at the state capitol.
“I had the honor of working with Jay and considered him a mentor whenever I served in the House of Representatives. He was my (committee) chairman, and I was proud to take over as the chairman for the committee that he chaired,” Burlison said. “I think we worked very well together, and I will still see him as somebody that I will look to for guidance.”
Burlison points to his record of legislating for tort law reform in the Missouri House, where he sponsored legislation that makes it more difficult for businesses and individuals to be sued by trial attorneys. Burlison said he intends to continue to sponsor acts of tort reform while serving in the Missouri Senate.
Burlison also hopes to vote for law changes in such a way that reflects what the people of southwest Missouri value.
“I want to ensure that this community is strong and that the families are able to be successful without being dependent on others,” Burlison said. “When people from all over the world come through this area, one thing they’ll remark upon is how kind and truly genuine people are.”
Professionally, Burlison works in computer software and owns a small business owning rental homes.
Wasson reached the limit on the time he may legally serve in the Missouri General Assembly. Wasson was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2002 and then elected to the Missouri Senate for the first time in 2010. He has served the maximum-allowed 16 years in Jefferson City.
Gov. Mike Parson recently appointed Wasson to a position on the Missouri Tourism Commission.