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George Burke Death Stuns Connolly, Va. Democrats

Connolly knew Burke for more than three decades. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional spokesman George A. Burke died on Oct. 30 after battling cancer, a departure that left his boss, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly nearly at a loss for words.  

"For more than 30 years I have been fortunate to call George my close friend. We will all miss his stories, his unwavering optimistic approach to life, and his love for his friends and family,” the Virginia Democrat said in a statement. “His loss will leave a great void in all our lives and I will miss him dearly.” According to Legistorm, Burke, a New York native, first joined the legislative branch in 1979, cutting his teeth by working as press secretary for New Hampshire Democrat Norman D’Amours for five years. He went on to handle messaging for former Rep. James Scheuer, D-N.Y., eventually moving on to give voice to the International Association of Fire Fighters.  

Burke returned to the Capitol in 2009 when Connolly was elected to Congress.  

"A man of many talents, he was an accomplished journalist, photographer, congressional staffer, senior labor leader with the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Chair of the 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee, and my trusted confidant and Communications Director,” Connolly shared in his official statement.  

Fairfax County Supervisor Jeff McKay billed Burke’s passing as a huge blow to the party.  

“He was really a giant in political circles. There’s not a democrat in Northern Virginia that didn’t know George Burke and that didn’t have tremendous respect for him even when they disagreed with him,” McKay said of his friend.  

Whether sharing his views on local politics via “Inside Scoop Virginia” or moderating campaign events for up-and-coming candidates, McKay told CQ Roll Call Burke was always working on something interesting.