Gary Burton, Partner
Gary served in the Missouri legislature for 14 years. During his tenure as a legislator, Gary served on numerous committees including: Insurance, Budget, Appropriations, Utilities, Financial Services, Energy and Environment, and Public Safety.
As a member of the Missouri General Assembly, Gary was elected the State Chairman of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national organization of legislators and the private sector. He also served as national chairman of ALEC's Telecommunications and Information Technology Taskforce.
Gary has received numerous awards, including,: ALEC "Thomas Jefferson Award" naming him one of the top five legislators in the nation, Missouri Chamber of Commerce "Legislator of the Year", Missouri Associated Industries "Voice of Missouri Business", Missouri Farm Bureau "Friend of Agriculture", the "Distinguished Service Award", Council on Developmental Disabilities "Outstanding Legislative Advocacy Award", and Ozark Center Board of Directors "Leadership and Public Advocacy Award".
In addition to his service as a legislator, Gary was instrumental in forming Joplin.com, the first non-profit internet service provider for Southwest Missouri; is co-founder of the Wildcat Glades Audubon Nature Center in his hometown of Joplin; served on the Joplin City Council and various city boards; former State Board Member and President for the Missouri Special Olympics Board; former board member of Joplin's Ronald McDonald House, and his church. He currently serves on the Board of Bright Futures USA in Joplin, MO.
Gary graduated from Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. He is presently a real estate developer and small business owner in the Joplin, MO area.
Chris Liese, Partner
Chris served in the Missouri legislature for ten years. During his tenure as a legislator, Chris was chairman of the Financial Services Committee and served on numerous committees covering diverse subject areas of insurance, transportation, and natural resources.
As a member of the Missouri General Assembly, Chris was also selected to serve as chairman of the Joint Committee on Gaming. He also received numerous awards including: Outstanding Freshman Legislator of the Year, a community service award from the Missouri Credit Union System, and a special award from Judge Susan Black for his work with troubled youth.
Chris was chosen to represent the Missouri General Assembly at the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). In further recognition of his leadership, he was elected to the position of NCOIL Vice President by its membership.
In addition to his service in the legislature, Chris was selected to join a United States delegation of state representatives at an economic summit held at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He also represented the state of Missouri on economic and education missions to Germany, Japan, and Thailand. Chris served on the board of the Edward Jones YMCA and is a lifetime member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
Chris graduated from St. Louis University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He completed advanced studies in State and Local Government from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Chris is also a licensed insurance agent.
Jim Foley, Partner
Jim has extensive experience in the Missouri legislature, the executive branch of state government and local government. Jim served in the Missouri House of Representative for 10 years, four of those as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. In 2002, Jim was recruited to be Policy Director and later promoted to Deputy Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. As Deputy and Policy Director, Jim was responsible for developing, passing and implementing policies pertaining to community, business, trade, and workforce development.
As a legislator, Jim served on numerous committees, such as: appropriations, local government, higher education. While serving in his leadership role, Jim was responsible for selecting the agenda for debate on the house floor.
Jim also served as an Alderman for the City of St. Ann for 5 years and was elected by the board to serve as president.
Jim received numerous awards and recognition during his tenure in the legislature, such as: St. Louis Business Journal Legislator of the Year Award, twice receiveing The Regional Chamber and Growth Association Statesman of the Year Award, the American Medical Association Recognition Award, and Legislator of the Year by the Firefighters of Missouri.
Jim received his BA in Political Science from Quincy University ('86) and also is a graduate of Leadership St. Louis.
Neal English, Associate
Neal has worked in the political and legislative arena for almost 10 years. He began his career with the Republican Caucus in the Missouri House of Representatives where he worked on policy development. Neal left the Missouri House to run Sen. Michael Gibbons senatorial campaign. After a successful campaign Sen. Gibbons was chosen Majority Floor Leader and Neal became his Chief of Staff, where he helped devise message, policy outreach, and selecting the agenda and priorities for floor debate. Later, as the Chief of Staff to the President Pro Tem, Neal was responsible for developing and passing priorities, working with Committee Chairman, assigning members to committees and coordinating with the House of Representatives and the Governor’s administration. In his role, he worked with leaders from both the Republican and Democratic parties to shape and move forward critical issues that benefited the people of Missouri.
Neal took a brief leave of absence to work on political campaigns and played an instrumental role in expanding and maintaining the Republican Majority in the Missouri Senate over the past eight years. His work with the Senate Majority Fund helped frame his experience in coalition building, voter outreach, and campaign strategy.
After Neal left the Missouri Senate, he worked for the Missouri Energy Development Association as their President. Shortly before he joined Burton-Liese, Neal had been doing political and policy consulting for organizations, associations and political campaigns.
Neal received his Bachelor of Science from Central Missouri State University with a major in Criminal Justice and minor in Political Science.
Mark Bruns, Associate
Mark served in the Missouri Legislature for eight years. During his tenure he served on numerous committees covering diverse topics including: Budget, Crime Prevention and Public Safety, Local Government, Appropriations, Veterans, Corrections, Homeland Security, and Senior Citizens.
As a member of the General Assembly, Mark was appointed by the Speaker of the House as chairman of five different committees. He has received numerous awards during his career, including recognition from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Associated Industries of Missouri, Missouri Farm Bureau, the American Cancer Society, Missouri Capitol Police, the Alzheimer’s Association, and was named legislator of the year by the Missouri State Council of Firefighters and the Missouri Sheriff’s Association. Mark was also selected as an Outstanding Young Man of America. His areas of focus in the legislature included public safety, corrections, local government, and senior citizen protection.
Mark currently serves as President of the Cole County 4H Foundation, St. Mary’s Health Center Board of Directors, past president of St. Peter School Board, and is active in his church and many civic organizations.
Don Soph, Manager - Client Services/Research
Don Soph worked for two years as an aide in the Missouri House of Representatives where he also served as clerk of the House Financial Institutions committee. He then moved to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, where for two years he worked as a director of the Chamber's Missouri Legislative Service bill tracking system. Don has also coordinated several state representative and state senate campaigns.
Don has been with Burton-Liese Government Relations for ten years. His main responsibilities are client services, bill tracking, issues research, ethics compliance, and office management.
Don graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and a minor in English. He is president of the Holts Summit, MO Lions Club and on the Holts Summit Community Betterment Association Board of Directors.
Andy Foley, Assistant Manager - Client Services/Research
Andy graduated from the University of Missouri - Columbia with a Bachelors Degree in History. While at MU, he worked for the Parkway Special School District and interned at a Jefferson City consulting firm. At the Parkway Special School District, Andy worked in the ABA early childhood education classrooms. While interning in Jefferson City, Andy worked with many different organizations, including the Acupuncture Association of Missouri, Missouri Association of Rural Health Clinics, and Missouri Association of School Librarians.
Andy's main responsibilities at Burton-Liese are client services, bill tracking, issues research, and PAC management.