© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
We will broadcast special coverage of both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, starting with the RNC tonight at 8.

Congressman Eric Burlison chronicles his ‘not boring’ entry into federal politics

Dominick Williams
Dominick Williams
For the Kansas City Beacon
U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison attended 2024 Missouri Republican Party Lincoln Days in Kansas City last weekend.

U.S. Rep. Eric Burlison said transitioning from a member of the Missouri General Assembly to Congress has resembled being a cast member on the television show "The Office."

The Battlefield Republican began representing Missouri’s 7th Congressional District, which takes in portions of southwest Missouri, in 2023 after serving about 12 years in the state House and Senate. A big chunk of his tenure in Congress so far has featured high-profile and bitter leadership fights over who should lead his caucus.

“I would certainly say it has not been boring,” Burlison said on an episode of the Politically Speaking podcast. “I never thought that I would be in the basement of the United States Capitol with 200 Republicans that are screaming at each other.”

Burlison said the inability for the GOP-controlled House to accomplish many policy initiatives can be disconcerting, adding “when you're sitting in the boat has no rudder, and there's nothing, no propeller, there's no wind, and you're just sitting there — very frustrating for a guy like me.”

“I'm a guy who just wants to get things done,” Burlison said. “I want to actually move the ball forward and be successful.”

Other topics Burlison discussed on the show include:

  • Whether former President Donald Trump will be able to consolidate GOP support.
  • Why he opposes the United States providing military assistance to Ukraine without taking more action on immigration policy.
  • The need for Republicans to embrace early voting methods instead of reflexively denigrating them. He noted that in California, Republican groups made efforts to get voters to cast a ballot early, and that led to GOP candidates winning elections.
  • The impact of a potential ballot measure legalizing abortion on Missouri’s 2024 election cycle.

Burlison spent eight years in the Missouri House, where he backed of legislation that would institute “right to work” in the state. That legislation prohibits unions and employers from requiring workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues as a condition of employment. Voters eventually rejected it.

After two years away from the legislature, Burlison won a state Senate seat taking in portions of Greene and Christian counties. He became a member of the now-defunct Conservative Caucus, which often battled GOP Senate leadership on a multitude of issues.

In 2022, Burlison chose to forgo reelection and run for the 7th Congressional District seat. He easily won the GOP primary, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Republican district.

Since taking office, Burlison has served on the House Oversight, Transportation, and Education and Workforce committees.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.