Stepping Up: Citizen Legislator

By Deb DeArmond

 

“I was worried about the direction of my country. You can’t sit by and worry – and you have to fix things from the bottom up.”

Sounds like sage advice – for somebody else. Unless you’re Konni Burton.

Many were concerned, but Konni decided to be part of the solution to the problems she could see. And she started in her own Texas backyard.

“If we don’t get involved, we’re going to lose the country our founding fathers gave us. We’ll look up and find we’re living in a nation God never intended.”

Konni Burton never planned to run for office. “Everything was focused on my girls, my family, my church and my business. I was a regular mom.” She held leadership roles in her church and the Gladney Center as an adoption advocate, “I’d never considered politics.”

Then in 2007, Burton saw alarming changes. “I respected the president, but the expanding size of government was troubling.” Infringement on states rights, national debt, and health care topped her concerns. And she discovered she wasn’t alone. A major issue was the state representative elected in her own district whose primary platform was an explosive one: abortion on demand. “She didn’t represent the conservative, faith-based constituency in her area, it was her personal agenda,” Konni said.

As she began her involvement in local politics, a search for a candidate with family values to oppose the incumbent ensued. “Then someone asked me whether I might consider a run. I wasn’t sure people would be ready for a citizen legislator, even though that was what the founding fathers intended.”

“I was a wife, mom, a normal person frustrated with the direction of our country. Living on a budget, everyday stuff. I believed people were tired of career politicians and might be ready for a change.”

Konni was aware that her life, including her faith, would be closely examined should she answer the call. “I’ve always believed you live your Christian perspective rather than just talking about it. I want people to know what I believe. If you proclaim it, you’d better live it, and that’s a weight. It’s important to people in my district – it’s part of who I am, who we are in this community.”

So, at 50+ Burton entered the political fray.

The incumbent resigned to enter the governor’s race, which changed the landscape. Doors opened, support grew, and Konni found herself in full swing. She spoke at luncheons, churches, neighborhood groups and rallies. She walked neighborhood precincts and shook a lot of hands. In May, she beat her opponent handily in the primary runoff. Things heated up.

“I was stunned at the amount of misrepresentation of who I am and what I believe by people who didn’t even know me. I couldn’t let mean stuff get to me. I stayed on a focused message. It’s how I have to live or I can’t live with myself.”

When the mid-term November 2014 election results came in Burton beat her opponent by a solid margin of 11%. Her election night statement: “Tonight, our neighbors have spoken.”

“People were wonderful – so many willing to step up, volunteer, and give to support the campaign. At times it’s been uncomfortable – it’s hard to be the recipient of all that giving. The amount of love and “what can I do for you?” was overwhelming.

Her advice to others 50+ considering something so life-changing?

  • Don’t necessarily go looking for something “to do” but ask God and be still enough to hear from Him.
  • Be faithful in what you’ve been blessed with.
  • Live your life with good intention and let Him lead you.
  • Be open to the possibilities.

What possibilities has God asked you to consider?

2 Comments

  1. 3-9-2015

    Deb, your post today is so encouraging. Konni’s boldness and courage to step up and stand firm for Christ and make a difference is very inspiring! Thanks for sharing her God story in this post. This is a great Monday morning reminder for all of us.

  2. 3-19-2015

    Wow, what a great story of obedience. Thanks for sharing. Thought provoking.

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