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Brian D. Burns (born November 17, 1939) is a former Vermont political figure who served as Lieutenant Governor.

Brian D. Burns
Brian D. Burns.jpg
72nd Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
In office
January 1975 (1975-Jan) – January 1977 (1977-Jan)
GovernorThomas P. Salmon
Preceded byJohn S. Burgess
Succeeded byT. Garry Buckley
Member of the Vermont House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born (1939-11-17) November 17, 1939 (age 79)
Burlington, Vermont
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceBurlington, Vermont
Alma materUniversity of Vermont
Harvard University (M.P.A.)
ProfessionReal Estate Agent


Brian Douglas Burns was born in Burlington, Vermont on November 17, 1939.[1] He was the nephew of John J. Burns, an Irish American who served as the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont.[2][3] Brian Burns graduated from Burlington's Cathedral High School in 1958, attended the University of Vermont and became active in the real estate business.

He served in the United States Army and the Vermont National Guard in the late 1950s and early 1960s.[4][5][6]

In 1966 Burns ran successfully for a seat in the Vermont House of Representatives. He served four terms, from 1967 to 1975.[7] He was the Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 1974. he finished in first place, with 66,942 votes to Republican candidate T. Garry Buckley's 60,962, and 6,484 for Liberty Union Party nominee Arthur Deloy. Since Burns fell 256 votes short of the majority required by the state constitution, the contest was decided by the Vermont Legislature, which voted for Burns by a margin of 161 to 20.[8] He served from January 1975 to January 1977.[9]

In 1976 Burns was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, losing a three way race to State Treasurer Stella Hackel.[10] (Hackel went on to lose the general election to Republican Richard Snelling).[11]

After leaving the Lieutenant Governor's office Burns was employed as New England Director for the Farmers Home Administration.[12][13]

Burns was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of Burlington in 1985, losing a three way race to incumbent Bernie Sanders.[14] In 1988 Burns unsuccessfully sought a seat in the Vermont Senate.[15]

From 1989 to 1993 Burns was a Program Manager for the Northeast Rural Water Association (NERWA).[16] While in this position he also completed a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.[17]

In 1995 he was convicted of three counts of fraud for having claimed to be working full time for NERWA while he also claimed to be attending Harvard University full time. (Attending school full time was a requirement of the degree program.)[18] According to investigators, Burns misrepresented his work hours on daily NERWA time logs, and used $5,000 in federal funds to pay for an apartment and $7,000 for travel expenses, in addition to $30,000 in salary while attending Harvard. He was sentenced to six months in jail and four months of home detention, and ordered to pay restitution and court costs.[19] He appealed but his conviction was affirmed.[20][21]


  1. ^ The National Conference of Lieutenant Governors, Biographical Sketches and Portraits, published by the conference, 1976, p. 1977
  2. ^ Newspaper article, Burns Denies "Party Hack" Charge as Gloves Off Campaigning Begins, by Russ Garland, Bennington Banner, June 26, 1976
  3. ^ Feeney, Vincent (2009). Finnigans, Slaters, and Stonepeggers: A History of the Irish in Vermont. Bennington, VT: Images from the Past. pp. 166, 214. ISBN 9781884592522.
  4. ^ Commencement program, published by Cathedral High School, 1958, p. 3
  5. ^ Vermont Legislative Directory, published by Vermont Secretary of State, 1971, p. 768
  6. ^ Vermont Legislative Directory, published by Vermont Secretary of State, 1975, p. 556
  7. ^ Newspaper article, Rep. Burns Runs for Lt. Governor, Bennington Banner, March 11, 1974
  8. ^ 1974: Lieutenant Governor, published by Vermont Secretary of State, June 9, 2006
  9. ^ Lieutenant Governors, Terms of Service Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine, published by Office of the Vermont Secretary of State, Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, 2011, p. 2
  10. ^ Primary Election Results, published by Office of the Vermont Secretary of State, Vermont State Archives and Records Administration, 2006, page 2
  11. ^ Official Report of the Canvassing Committee Archived 2012-05-10 at the Wayback Machine, United States and Statewide Offices, General Election, November 2, 1976, Vermont, undated, p. 1
  12. ^ National Journal, National Journal Group Inc., 1977, page 1389
  13. ^ Export Directory, published by U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, 1978, page 23
  14. ^ Newspaper article, Country's Only Socialist Mayor Easily Defeats Six Opponents to Win His Third Term in Vermont City, by Associated Press, published in Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1985
  15. ^ Vermont State Legislature Candidate listing, published by Vermont Secretary of State, 1988
  16. ^ In The Main, Newsletter published by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Spring 1993
  17. ^ 1992 Press release, Negotiation Skills Will be Taught at UVM MPA Program Course[permanent dead link], by University of Vermont, January 3, 1992
  18. ^ Newspaper article, Burns Convicted of Fraud in Vt. The Boston Globe, July 7, 1995
  19. ^ "Semiannual Report to Congress October 1, 1995 through March 31, 1996" (PDF). Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General. March 31, 1996. p. 2.
  20. ^ United States of America, Appellee, v. Brian Burns, Defendant-Appellant., 104 F.3d 529 (2nd Cir. 1997) Archived 2013-12-20 at the Wayback Machine, published by vLex, 1997
  21. ^ "U.S. V. BURNS". United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit. 1997. Retrieved April 20, 2017 – via
Political offices
Preceded by
John S. Burgess
Lieutenant Governor of Vermont
Succeeded by
T. Garry Buckley