Longtime Mississippi Sen. Burton has stroke, Reeves says

January 24, 2019
In this Jan. 8, 2019 photo, Republican Terry Burton of Newton, then president pro tempore of the Mississippi Senate, tells the body he is resigning his leadership role, weeks after being charged with second-offense drunken driving, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. According to Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Burton suffered a stroke and was hospitalized Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. Burton previously said he will remain in the 52-member Senate this year but will not seek another four-year term in office. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A longtime Mississippi lawmaker who recently stepped down from a leadership post has had a stroke.

Republican Sen. Terry Burton of Newton was hospitalized Thursday and his family is requesting privacy, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in a statement.

“Please join me and Elee in praying for Sen. Burton and his family,” Reeves said.

Burton, 62, stepped down as Senate president pro tempore on Jan. 8, when the legislative session began. The resignation came weeks after he was arrested on a second-offense drunken driving charge. It was Burton’s third DUI arrest. He was acquitted of one of the charges in 2016.

The president pro tempore presides over the Senate when the lieutenant governor is not available. Burton also helped get commitments of support from senators on issues important to Reeves, a Republican.

In announcing his resignation from the leadership post, Burton apologized to his Senate colleagues.

“During these next few months as we finish out this term, I’m turning it over to God and I’m turning it over to the professionals that I’m working with to deal with my personal issues, demons, human frailties, whatever you want to call them,” Burton said Jan. 8.

Burton has served in the Senate since 1992. He was a Democrat until switching parties in December 2002.

He has said he won’t seek re-election this year in his district in Lauderdale, Newton and Scott counties.