Sen. Richard Burr Chosen to Lead Republicans on Veterans' Affairs Committee

(Washington, DC) - Republican members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs today announced they have chosen Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) as the temporary ranking member of the committee.

Burr will temporarily replace Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

"I appreciate the confidence my Senate colleagues have expressed in me today. There are almost twenty-five million veterans living in the United States and over 750,000 live in my home state of North Carolina. I am committed to ensuring that veterans across the state and the country receive the best health care and services we can provide," Burr said.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a wide variety of programs and services for the nation's 24.7 million veterans. The majority of VA benefits focus on health care, including mental health, disability, and long-term care services. VA operates major medical centers in Asheville, Durham, Fayetteville and Salisbury. These medical centers served more than 1,294,000 outpatient visits and had 16,568 inpatient admissions in 2005. The VA also operates community-based outpatient clinics in Charlotte, Durham, Greenville, Raleigh, Morehead City, Wilmington and Jacksonville and an outpatient clinic in Winston-Salem.

The North Carolina Republican has placed special focus this year on improving life for the nation's estimated 200,000 homeless veterans. In June his Services to Prevent Veterans Homelessness Act of 2007 (S. 874), was approved by the Committee on Veterans' Affairs as part of the Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury and Programs Improvement Act of 2007 (S. 1233). Burr's legislation will increase veterans' access to assistance for housing, physical and mental health services, health insurance, as well as vocational and financial counseling.

Burr is also active on veterans' health issues. A health care policymaker for over a decade, Burr has most recently been vocal on traumatic brain injury, Department of Defense and VA sharing of electronic medical records and the efficiency of the VA health system, especially for veterans in rural areas.

Burr has served on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs since he was sworn in as a U.S. Senator on January 3, 2005. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994 and served five terms before be elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

In addition to his new leadership position on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, Burr serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee; the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; and the Indian Affairs Committee.

The son of a minister, Richard and his family moved to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, when he was a young child. After graduating from Wake Forest University he rose to a senior sales management position with a wholesale commercial products company before running for Congress.

Senator Burr and his wife, Brooke, have two sons in college.