O. Maxie Burns was first elected to Congress November 5, 2002, and was sworn in on January 7, 2003. As a member of the House of Representatives from Georgia's new Twelfth Congressional District, Max serves on the Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Education and the Workforce committees. He was elected freshmen class president by his peers and serves on the Speaker's prescription drug action team.
Prior to his election, Max was a professor of Information Systems at Georgia Southern University's College of Business Administration in Statesboro. Max was born in Millen, Georgia in Jenkins County. He grew up and graduated from high school in rural Screven County, where he continues to live and work on his family's beef and timber farm.
Max married his wife of thirty years, Lora Dean Black in 1972. They have two adult sons: Andrew, and Nathan. Max is an active member of Jackson Baptist Church in Sylvania, where he has served as Deacon for over fifteen years. Committed to Georgia's youth, Max has been a high school football referee for over twenty years and a youth athletic coach for ten years. He has also been a strong advocate of the Pineland Mental Health center in Statesboro where he has helped to develop a work-return program to aid disabled individuals.
Max was elected to the Screven County Commission in 1993 and served until 1998; he served as Chairman in his 1997-1998 term. Max also served on the CSRA Regional Development Center and is the former Chairman of the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade, and Tourism Region 1 Advisory Council, which covers most of the counties in the Twelfth District.
During his time as an elected official to the Screven County Commission, Screven County developed a comprehensive road improvement program, opened a new senior citizens' center, initiated a new adult and technical education center, built a new athletic complex, developed a modernized plan for the county law enforcement complex, and implemented a comprehensive land-usage plan.
Max received a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering degree from Georgia Tech in 1973. He was the Distinguished Military Graduate of the Class of 1973. Upon graduation, Max served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves. Max was awarded a Masters in Business Information Systems from Georgia State University in 1977, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Georgia State University in 1987. Max continued to work full-time, while studying for both of his advanced degrees, serving in information management positions with Oxford Industries and the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Max was a Senior Fulbright Scholar, teaching Corporate Information Management in Sweden in 1993. He also taught in Australia, New Zealand, and Korea. He has also served as a consultant to Gulfstream Aerospace and Grinnell Corporation. Prior to coming to Congress he also developed the Southern Suppliers' Network to connect Southeast Georgia's small business suppliers to major manufacturers.
While the principal fighting in Iraq has concluded, our nation's men and women continue to fight for our freedom and security around the world. They should know that Americans are united in their support for them and their safe return.
Republicans in Congress, along with President Bush, support not only the troops in the field, but also the scores of veterans who have already given so much to this country. Unfortunately, there have been false reports circulating that Congress has cut veterans' benefits. Now, whether you have heard this disinformation or not, here are the facts of the Congressional Budget for fiscal year (FY) 2004 relating to veterans' spending.
The budget proposes $63.8 billion for veterans' programs -- an increase of $6.2 billion (10.7 percent) over FY 2003.
This funding is divided between two categories of spending for veterans -- mandatory and discretionary. Funding in both spending categories is increased by this budget. I have listed the key facts of the VA budget below.
The budget provides $33.8 billion -- an 8.9 percent increase -- in mandatory spending in FY '04. This will allow veterans' mandatory programs to grow to support increased payments for compensation, pensions and educational benefits. Of the funding increase, nearly 80 percent is for increases to veterans' disability compensation.
The budget provides $30 billion -- a 12.9 percent increase -- in discretionary spending for veterans in FY '04. Nearly 90 percent of this funding is for veterans' medical care. It is important to note that every penny of that increase is justified by the compelling medical needs of our veterans.
To put this in historical perspective, VA medical care spending has grown 40% since 1998, for an average growth of 6.9 percent each year.
Other veterans' discretionary initiatives include $225 million for construction of medical facilities to increase services, and a 4.8 percent increase to the Burial Benefits program -- including funding to open new national cemeteries.
These are the indisputable facts of the federal budget for veterans. House Republicans, along with President Bush, are committed to ensuring that those who have served their country with pride, valor, and dignity receive the best of America's appreciation. Any suggestion otherwise is simply untrue -- and is not supported by the facts.
It is my hope that by sharing this information with your readers, any misrepresentations or distortions of the FY 2004 veterans' budget might be disproved.
Veterans and military personnel interested in viewing the budget can visit the following website link: