Burke, a Bradley County native, attended Waterville Elementary, Bradley Jr. High and graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1998 with a Tennessee Honors diploma. He graduated from Cleveland State, and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administration with a double minor in psychology and sociology from Middle Tennessee State University.
“When I was a young child, we lived on Gaut Street beside the 5th District,” Burke states. “There were times when our Christmas gifts came from charity. And, I remember eating ketchup sandwiches and mayonnaise sandwiches … but my parents worked very hard every day, trying to get us a better life. So I have a deep and profound understanding of how important it is to build a community where everyone has an opportunity to succeed. I know how hard it is to keep your head above water even though you’re paddling like mad. I also know that we can revitalize the 5th District with the right leadership.”
Burke continues, “I am running for commissioner to focus on the working class, fight for new jobs and recruit businesses, and prepare the 5th District for future growth. We need to take care of our schools, capitalize on tourism, and create economic opportunities with industries such as Volkswagen. Bradley County is a prime area for growth due to our location near major metropolitan cities.
Also, it is critical to look at all areas where taxpayers could save money by holding departments accountable for their spending. This will ensure that we have adequate services without wasting our resources. Our infrastructure needs improvement since this is an important part of attracting new businesses. We also have the ability to recruit higher level jobs, and should have a concerted effort at the county level to achieve this goal.
“To accomplish these important tasks, we need commissioners with vision, fresh ideas and a spirit of compassion for their neighbors.”
After tornadoes hit the area, Burke volunteered in the Blue Springs and Dalton Pike areas, handing out meals, bottled water and supplies. He has also worked with area organizations to provide Christmas for local kids in need, and collected food for homeless pet organizations. Burke was also instrumental in the recent successful efforts to establish a ‘no kill’ animal shelter facility in the county.
For eight years, Burke was a deputy sheriff for Bradley County, serving in various positions including interim shift supervisor, accreditation manager and field training officer. He is also a graduate of the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Academy and holds a Tennessee Corrections Institute Certificate.
After suffering an attack on the job, Burke was commended for his bravery by then Bradley Sheriff Tim Gobble.
Currently, he is self-employed and serves on the board of directors for the SPCA of Bradley County. Burke’s father worked for 20-plus years at Rubbermaid and served 20-plus years in the Tennessee National Guard as a staff sergeant. His mother returned to the workforce six years ago to make ends meet.
“It’s time to give the government back to the people of this county. Your vote this August is greatly appreciated as I look forward to working closely with all citizens who want to build a stronger community,” Burke concludes.