The Ripon Forum

Volume 54, No. 6

December 2020

The New Guard: Burgess Owens (UT-4)

By on December 9, 2020

“Now, more than ever, we need leaders that will stand for their principles and won’t compromise their values for political opportunities.”


Snapshot of Victory: Burgess Owens defeated first-term incumbent Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams by a vote of 47.7% to 46.7%.

Background: U.S. Representative-elect Burgess Owens spent his childhood in Tallahassee, Florida. It was during this time that barriers of segregation were being torn down and he learned anything is possible in America. Owens was one of just four African-Americans who were integrated in a historically white high school. He earned a spot on the football team and found a true passion for the sport. When it came time to go to college, he became one of three black Americans to ever receive a football scholarship to the University of Miami where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. He would later be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Outstanding College Athletes of America and the University of Miami’s Hall of Fame.

His football experience did not stop after completing his college education. His impressive resume on the field led him to be the 13th player drafted in the first round by the NY Jets in 1973. Here he earned the title of Jet’s Rookie of the Year and was selected to the NFL’s All-Rookie team. Later on, Owens was traded to the Oakland Raiders, where he led the defensive squad in tackles and celebrated a victory at the 1980 Super Bowl Championship.

After leaving the NFL, Owens faced many hardships. He experienced some failed business opportunities and was forced to move his family of six into a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, NY. To provide for himself and his family, Owens worked as a chimney sweep during the day and a security guard at night. His hard work eventually paid off and he went on to have a successful 25-year career in the corporate arena. Owens is a founder, board member, and CEO of Second Chance 4 Youth, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping troubled and incarcerated youth. He is also a prostate cancer survivor.

Legislative Goals for Congress: From an economic standpoint, Owens has stated that a top priority of his will be to reduce business regulations, cut taxes, and reduce federal spending. Another top priority of his will be education and giving power back to states. He is also a fierce advocate for protecting the unborn. On this issue of healthcare, the Congressman-elect has suggested he wants to reform Obamacare and is committed to providing coverage for preexisting conditions. He also believes there needs to be more transparency in healthcare costs. As the pandemic continues, Owens would like to see an additional COVID-19 relief package that is more targeted to the businesses and people who need it most.

Key Quote: “I’m living the American Dream and have dedicated my life to helping others realize the same potential. Now, more than ever, we need leaders that will stand for their principles and won’t compromise their values for political opportunities. Now more than ever, we need leaders who stand up against the lawlessness that is going on across our country.” (Source: Closing remarks of Oct. 12th debate.)

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