RALEIGH, N.C. — He worked on Energy and Commerce and Intelligence committees in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, Republican Richard Burr is starting over in the U.S. Senate.
Burr, who beat Erskine Bowles to fill the vacant seat of John Edwards, doesn't know where he'll fit in just yet, but he's working on his list of priorities.
"My number one priority is to make sure in this session that North Carolina has the focus that it did not have in the last two years with split representation," Burr said.
Those issues include military base closures and health care.
Burr enjoys the comfort of a Republican majority, but says that doesn't mean security for North Carolina.
"Big things don't happen without bipartisan support," Burr said.
Burr feels the new Dell manufacturing plant is a step in the right direction even if critics say the incentives are too high and the pay is too low.
"I think we need to look at the multiple effects of Dell," Burr said. "It's not only Dell employees, it's the suppliers that are going to relocate. (It's) when they're fully up and running."
As he addressed NCFREE, a pro-business political think-tank, he talked about his own business plan during the campaign.
"The reason for my success was discipline," Burr said.
And he said having two senators from the same political party is also an incentive package.
"As companies begin to relocate around the country. North Carolina will be much more attractive because we've got some predictability in the willingness of our senators to work together."
Burr's seniority will carry over from the House of Representatives. That makes him the senior most member of the Senate freshman class and 92nd in the Senate overall. He begins orientation next week.