Some Background

678 words, 3 minutes approximate reading time.

About Jim Burns

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By: Rick White

On February 1, 1946 Alice Burns gave birth. Alice and her husband Don named the boy James Luther Burns. The family called him Jimmy until he was twelve or thirteen, then he won the argument and was thereafter called Jim.

Jim played French horn in his High School band and was in his senior year Drum Major of the sixty-piece band. After high school, in 1964, Jim joined the Marine Corps and served three years nine months and twenty eight days; he got out early to be a policeman in Washington DC.

In September of 1973, Jim discovered the Libertarian Party (LP). By January of 1974, he was elected chairman of the LP of Nevada. The LPN was, back then, faced with a seeming impossible task. They did not have enough strength to get 5% of the voters of Nevada to sign the petition to place the LP on the ballot, and in 1974, the state would not allow a person to register as a Libertarian. To build the LPN, it was decided to run a candidate for office. Jim was (in 1974) a registered Republican. Jim decided to run for Congress which at that time was the only state wide office for which he was legally qualified. There was very little money and not too many ways to tell people that there was a Libertarian Party. Jim legally changed his middle name to Libertarian. His name appeared on the ballot in the Republican Party statewide primary as Burns, James Libertarian. The word Libertarian for the first time appeared on a Nevada ballot. That got some notice. The members of LPN gained some experience.

The office of Mayor of Las Vegas is a non-partisan office. In 1975, Jim ran for mayor. That time he dropped James: on the ballot was Burns, Libertarian. He ran the first TV spots by a libertarian candidate. He came in 5th in a field of nine. The LPN got bigger. Jim sent a letter to the Attorney General: the letter persuaded the Attorney General to allow the people of Nevada to register as members of the Libertarian Party, and Jim was the first person to do so.

In 1976, Jim was the leader of the first successful ballot petition drive: more than 25,000 signatures collected. He was the first candidate from Nevada to file for the LPN: Congress again. We did not get enough votes to stay on the ballot, back then but the LPN got stronger.

In 1978, Jim financed and led the successful ballot drive: more than 25,000 signatures. He ran for the assembly. Jim was the first LPN candidate to come in second in a three-way race and the first LPN candidate to get more votes than a major party candidate: a Republican.

In 1996, he ran for the assembly again, and again he came in second in a three-way race.

In 1998, he ran for Congress. He came in third in a four-way race. He got almost twice as many votes as a former Chairman of the Clark County Republican Party.

In 2004, Jim started running for President and just does not know how to quit. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Jim served twice as Chairman of the LPN, twice as Clark County (Las Vegas) Chairman, twice as At-Large Representative, and once as Southern Regional Representative of the LPN Executive Committee, and the Northern Regional Representative of the LP of Nye County Nevada. January 2013, James Libertarian Burns was elected to the Water and Sanitation District, Beatty, Nevada.

Jim has been a delegate to national LP conventions seven times, and in 1979, he was a member of the Platform Committee. He is a life member of the National LP.

You may wonder why nothing is said about the 1980’s. Well, he puts his thoughts into action. He fought the IRS. January 18, 1980, he was convicted of failure to file income tax returns, a misdemeanor. He served 9 months and 28 days in jail. The IRS and Jim did not get along in the 1980’s until about 1992. Since that time, they have not had any particular problems with one another, so far.