COLUMBIA, Mo. – Former Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks officially announced his candidacy for Missouri’s 4th Congressional District to a packed room at Shakespeare’s pizza on Tuesday.
Currently serving as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves, whispers of Burks’ candidacy began circling prior to his official announcement as he filed with the Federal Elections Commission on July 1.
Burks is a fifth generation Missourian who grew up on his grandparents farm in the Ozark area. He has served three combat deployments with the United States Navy, most recently returning this past winter. He earned his undergraduate degree from Truman State University and later earned two master’s degrees while on active duty in the Navy.
He was appointed to Boone County Clerk in 2017 where he reportedly saved the county almost half a million dollars in his relatively short time in office. He was also the first ever Republican to hold that seat.
After his county position, Burks has served as Director of the Division of Labor Standards since January 2018.
According to Burks, after returning from deployment at the end of last year, the wheels began turning for what his next step would be.
“I came back home and had some conversations with folks on what I might do next,” he said. “So my wife and I talked about [running for Congress] and prayed about it.
“Just given our perspectives of having served 14 years in the Navy, her having dealt with a lot of things that schools did in 2020 with COVID, we felt that we were in a position to be able to talk about the issues that military families, young families in this district need a congressperson to talk about.”
Burks believes his experience is what gives him an edge over his fellow candidates. This includes election security as Boone County Clerk, agriculture as a fifth generation Missourian and national security as a veteran.
“So many people who are running don’t have anything beyond talking points,” Burks said. “They go to Jefferson City or they go to D.C. and they say a lot of things, but when you don’t have real-world experience to back that up – if you’ve not been a deployed service member whose wife is struggling with finding healthcare back home – those are things that the experience matters from an outsider perspective.”
The Navy veteran also believes that real-world experience is where a lot of political outsiders fail, but believes he is an outsider that fits the criteria for being fit to serve in Congress.
“I think sometimes that’s where outsiders fall short,” he said. “They have the best intentions and want to get into government and do the best things, but then there’s that roadblock to not having the experience to make headway on those issues.”
“So, as a veteran, as an [agriculture] family, running elections, those are experiences that hopefully will carry us through on important issues for republicans today.”
Burks has also made waves recently with his pledge to give himself a term limit of 10 years if he were to get elected in 2022. He mirrored many voters’ concerns of politicians making a lifetime career out of getting elected, yet not doing much past that.
“I think what’s so important for Missourians when we send someone to Congress is that person not getting sucked into what the swamp is,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with serving in different places, but the minute you get sucked into it, the minute you think ‘This is my lifestyle’, you forget what Missourians are dealing with on a daily basis.
“That’s really what we’re called to do,” he continued. “We’re called to serve for a season and then come back and live in the same environment that you fought for in D.C., and so many politicians forget that.”
As he prepares to hit the campaign trail, Burks says he is thankful for this opportunity and excited to explore the district over the next 12 months.
“We are blessed to be in a position to spend the next year talking to voters in the 4th District about the direction we believe this country needs to be moving in and I’m pumped to be doing that.”