World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

John L. Burton


John L. Burton

John L. Burton
Chairman of the
California Democratic Party
Assumed office
Preceded by Art Torres
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1983
Preceded by Phillip Burton
Succeeded by Phillip Burton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 6th district
In office
June 4, 1974 – January 3, 1975
Preceded by William S. Mailliard
Succeeded by Phillip Burton
Personal details
Born John Lowell Burton
(1932-12-15) December 15, 1932
Cincinnati, Ohio
Political party Democratic

John Lowell Burton (born December 15, 1932) is the Chairman of the California Democratic Party since April 2009 and a professor of California Politics at San Francisco State University. He is an American politician who served in the California State Assembly from 1965 until 1974, in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1974 until 1983, in the State Assembly again from 1988 until 1996, and in the California State Senate from 1996 until 2004 (representing the 3rd district).


  • Life and career 1
  • Sexual Harassment Lawsuit 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Life and career

Burton earned a BA degree in social science in 1954 from San Francisco State University and was the University’s Alumnus of the Year in 1998. From 1998 until he was forced out of office by term limits in 2004, he served as the President pro tempore of the State Senate. Prior to his time in the Senate, he served in the California State Assembly from 1965 until 1974, and again from 1988 until 1996. He was originally elected to the Assembly to succeed his brother Phillip Burton, who had been elected to Congress. He was returned to the Assembly in a 1988 special election to succeed Art Agnos, who had been elected Mayor of San Francisco. Burton also served in the U.S. House of Representatives, alongside his brother, from 1975 until 1982, when he resigned.

As a legislator, Burton was known for expanding the Cal Grant scholarship program, and passing a law (subsequently defeated in a referendum) that would have required California businesses to pay for health coverage for their workers. The magazine California Journal said about Burton's departure from the Senate in 2005: "Gone will be the Senate's most vehement partisan for social services for the poor, the Senate's angriest voice against tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy, its loudest voice for protection of workers, its fiercest pro-labor advocate and its disciplinarian."[1]

After leaving the Senate, Burton formed the John Burton Foundation, an organization that, according to its web site, is "dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless children and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness." In February 2007 he was appointed board member of the University of Phoenix.[2]

On April 26, 2009, Burton was elected chair of the California Democratic Party, succeeding Arthur Torres. He received roughly 76% of the vote, over his sole challenger, Chris Finnie of Santa Cruz.[3]

Burton is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

In 2008, Burton settled a $10 million sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Kathleen Driscoll, then the executive director of his charitable foundation for homeless children. Driscoll claimed Burton repeatedly swore at her and directed lewd and suggestive comments regularly.[4]


  1. ^ Murphy, Kathleen (September 15, 2004). "Term limits mean pink slip for Californias Burton". 
  2. ^ "Members of the Board of the University of Phoenix". 
  3. ^ Hecht, Peter (April 25, 2009). "Veteran pol Burton vows to lead Democratic future".  
  4. ^ Reiterman, Tim (24 January 2008). "Sexual harassment suit filed against John Burton".  

External links

  • John L. Burton at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Democratic Party ChairforJohn L. Burton
  • article on Burton from 2002San Francisco Chronicle"Our Man in Sacramento":
  • San Diego Tribune article on Burton from 2004
  • John Burton Foundation
  • Clint Reilly on John L. Burton
California Assembly
Preceded by
Phillip Burton
California State Assemblyman, 20th District
Succeeded by
Dixon Arnett
Preceded by
Art Agnos
California State Assemblyman, 16th District
Succeeded by
Barbara Lee
Preceded by
Tom Bates
California State Assemblyman, 12th District
Succeeded by
Kevin Shelley
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
William S. Mailliard
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 6th congressional district

June 4, 1974–January 3, 1975
Succeeded by
Phillip Burton
Preceded by
Phillip Burton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Phillip Burton
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.