Former Sen. Conrad Burns Laid to Rest

Three-term Montana senator passed away in April at age 81

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery Monday.
Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery Monday.
Posted July 18, 2017 at 12:21pm

Former Sen. Conrad Burns, who represented Montana in the Senate from 1989 to 2007, was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery with military honors on Monday.

His links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff helped cost him his Senate seat in 2006, when he lost to Democrat Jon Tester.

Burns was well-known for his Montana signifiers, including big belt buckles, folksy speech, and pastoral scenes hanging on his office walls. He secured large amounts of money for his state from his seat on the Appropriations Committee, where he was chairman of the Interior Subcommittee. He worked to increase rural internet and broadband access, as well as working on anti-email spam legislation.

Born in Gallatin, Mo., in 1935, Burns moved to Montana in 1962 and married Phyllis Kuhlmann in 1967. He worked at the intersection of agriculture and media, working at an agricultural magazine, the Billings Livestock Commission, and founded the Northern Agricultural Network, which began with four radio stations.

He was a Yellowstone County commissioner for two years before running for Senate in 1988, defeating incumbent Democrat John Melcher. He became the first Republican senator from Montana in history to be reelected in 1994.

He served in the Marines in Japan and Korea as a small arms instructor.