Burt gets fine, probation for drunk driving

State Representative Kerry Burt received a year of probation and a $625 fine after pleading guilty to drunk driving, the Des Moines Register reported on August 21. He will also be required to take a class for drunk drivers. Burt released a statement apologizing for his actions and promising never to let it happen again. I’ve posted that statement after the jump. It doesn’t sound like he’s planning to resign.

I would like Democrats to find a new candidate for House district 21 next year. The Register pointed out that State Senator Robert Dvorsky was re-elected in 2006 despite a drunk driving arrest earlier that year, but Dvorsky had spent nearly two decades in the Iowa legislature at that time and represents a safe Democratic district. Burt is in his first term and defeated a Republican incumbent by a narrow margin in 2008. He is also among several people being investigated for giving false addresses in order to evade tuition payments at the University of Northern Iowa’s Malcolm Price Laboratory School.

Statement from Kerry Burt on August 21, 2009:

“I wish to apologize to my family, colleagues, constituents, and all who share Iowa’s roads for my poor judgment in drinking and driving. There is no one but me to blame for my foolish decision. Everyone who knows me recognizes that this action was completely out of character, and I will not allow it to happen again.

In the hope of setting the record straight so that all of us may move forward, I will relay what happened that morning: While driving on I-35 my tire blew out, which caused my vehicle to swerve and hit a barrier.

After determining that no one was hurt, I cautiously drove with flashers on to the nearest exit, where I knew I would find a convenience store at which to park and wait for a ride.

In the parking lot was Officer Phinney, who I approached to report the incident. He suspected that I had been drinking, and – following proper police procedure – tested and subsequently arrested me. The officer treated me with courtesy and respect and I applaud him for doing his job.

Contrary to a particular media depiction, I do not consider myself above the law or deserving of any preferential treatment. I made a terrible mistake and rightfully am paying a price. I hope this statement clears up any confusion that has surrounded this incident since I have no further comment on it. Instead, I wish to focus my energies on putting together solid legislation that benefits the state and community to which I am devoted.”

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