Auctioneer, broadcaster, county commissioner,
football referee, livestock fieldman and Marine, Senator Conrad
Burns became the first Republican in the history of Montana
to be elected to a second term in November 1994. He won the
election with more than 62 percent of the vote.
Burns became Montana's 19th United States Senator on January 2, 1989. In 1988,
Burns defeated incumbent Senator John Melcher by a 52 to 48 percent margin, becoming
only the second Republican Senator ever elected from his state. He was the only
Republican challenger to defeat an incumbent that year.
Conrad Burns is a long-time friend and supporter of Shriners Hospitals. Equally
important, he has been a member of Gallatin Lodge #106 since 1958, and is a member
of the Scottish Rite, in which he received the honorary 33rd degree in 1995.
He was created a Noble of Moila Shrine Temple in 1966 and has been affiliated
with Al Bedoo Shrine Temple since 1971, where he has participated as a member
of the Black Horse Patrol.
As a member of the United States Senate, he has gained five key committee assignments
during his two terms in office: Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation;
Energy and Natural Resources; Small Business; and Aging.
He is the Senate co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus; Senate co-chairman
of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus; co-chairman of the Senate Tourism Caucus;
a member of the Senate Republican Health Care Task Force; and a founding member
of the Senate Private Property Rights Caucus.
More importantly to the Shrine, his involvement on Capitol Hill has helped to
give Shriners Hospitals, and the children we care for, a louder voice in health
care legislation, making Senator Conrad Burns of Montana a deserving recipient
of the Imperial Potentate's Award of Merit.
As Montana's representative, Burns has worked for a healthy job base for Montanans;
effective, fiscally responsible government; tax reform; realistic health care
reform; the expansion of Montana's agricultural industry and preservation of
natural resource-based jobs; and increased individual opportunity through telecommunications.
Burns was born on a small farm near Gallatin, Missouri, on January 25, 1935,
to Russell and Mary Frances (Knight) Burns. His mother was active in politics
as a county chairman and state committeewoman for the Democratic Party. Burns
attended Pleasant Grove, a country grade school. He graduated from Gallatin High
School in 1952.
After two years in the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri,
Burns enlisted in the Marine Corps where he was a small arms instructor and served
in the Far East. He then worked for TWA and Ozark airlines for three years. In
1962, he became a field representative for Polled Hereford World Magazine and
moved to Billings. Burns was named the first manager of the Northern International
Livestock Expo in 1968 and became involved in radio and television broadcasting
of agricultural market news while working for the Billings Livestock Commission.
He was a farm and ranch news reporter for a Billings television station before
creating the Northern Ag Network in 1975 with four radio stations. By 1986, when
he sold his interest in the network, it served 31 radio and six television stations
in Montana and Wyoming.
Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Burns served as Yellowstone County
Commissioner for two years. Yellowstone County is Montana's most populous county.
Conrad Burns married Phyllis Kuhlmann of North Platte, Nebraska, in 1967. She
graduated from Concordia Teachers College in Seward, Nebraska, and was a teacher
at Trinity Lutheran Grade School in Billings from 1966 to 1970. Phyllis has also
taught at Lutheran schools in the Washington, D.C., area.
Conrad and Phyllis are the proud parents of two. Their daughter, Keely, is a
28-year-old doctor who wants to practice medicine in rural Montana. Their 23-year-old
son, Garrett, lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his wife, Kate, and he plans to
continue his education. The Burns family belongs to Atonement Lutheran Church