SHERIDAN — Wyoming state Sen. Bruce Burns, R-Sheridan, announced Wednesday he will not seek another term. Burns has served as a legislator for the state for 24 years.
“It was the privilege of my life to serve,” Burns said. “It’s time for new blood.”
Burns made the announcement at the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, at which legislators provided an update on the legislative session. Burns doesn’t know of anyone in particular who will run for his seat, which is part of the reason for his early announcement.
Burns served as a House representative for Wyoming from 1995 to 2002 and switched to the Senate in 2003. He will finish out his representation for Senate District 21 this week.
Burns said he has been weighing the decision for the past few years.
“The election’s coming up and it was a question of whether or not I wanted to spend another four years or not,” Burns said. “I decided not.”
In the 24 years of service, Burns served on the House Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Committee from 1995-2000 and in the Senate from 2003 to 2014. Other committee delegations included Judiciary; Natural Resource Funding; Minerals, Business and Economic Development, select committees, task forces and groups for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Burns wanted to spend more time on different aspects of his life.
“I’ve got a bucket list of a lot of stuff that I want to do but I can’t because of the Legislature,” he said.
He added that his tenure has had its ups and downs.
“There were a number of bills I was involved in and accomplishments that I’m proud of, but there were also a number of things I couldn’t stop that I feel bad about,” Burns said.
Local legislators spoke fondly of Burns.
Rep. Mark Kinner, R-Sheridan, has known Burns for about 30 years. Burns told Kinner last week that he was considering not running again. When Kinner was elected to the House in 2015, Burns was one of the first people to which he turned.
Kinner said Burns was instrumental in helping him learn the steep legislative learning curve.
“I’m really appreciative of the service that Bruce has given to the state,” Kinner said. “That’s a big chunk of his life that he’s dedicated to helping the people of Wyoming.”
Sen. Dave Kinskey, R-Sheridan, agreed.
“Bruce Burns has rendered decades of great service to the citizens of this county and we all owe him a deep debt of gratitude,” Kinskey said. “I wish that he would stay, as he has been remarkably effective in representing us in the Legislature. He is at the pinnacle of his career in chairing the appropriations committee. He’s certainly going out on a high note. He will be sorely missed.”