Local Politics

Longtime associates call Burr hard worker

Posted October 21, 2010 6:24 p.m. EDT
Updated October 21, 2010 6:42 p.m. EDT

— As U.S. Sen. Richard Burr campaigns for a second term in Washington, D.C., people in his hometown of Winston-Salem say he learned at an early age to be tough and disciplined.

The son of a minister, Burr grew up playing sports before going into a career in sales.

"I think it goes back to sports. He was very competitive," friend Chuck Duckett said. "Sales is a competition in a way. It's an extension of sports. You know, he was always competitive – a hard hitter, loved football. He's not afraid to work."

John Dinan, a political scientist at Wake Forest University, said Burr has maintained a reputation on Capitol Hill of being a hard worker.

"The standard description of a senator is they divide into the show horses and the workhorses," Dinan said. "In the world of the Senate parlance, to be called a workhorse is a compliment rather than to be called a show horse."

Bill Mitchell, who cuts Burr's hair at Mount Tabor Barber and Style and has known him for 25 years, said the senator has very little pretense.

"Most of the time, he just comes in and sits down ... and we talk about sports," Mitchell said. "He doesn't say anything about how to cut his hair."

His friends say that is Burr's style: Keep your head down and work.

"If you have a problem and you're in the military or it's a medical question, things like that, you get answers," Duckett said. "That's really what people want."