After graduating from Louisiana State University with an accounting degree, Marilyn Burgess launched a successful career in business and became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). But when she went to work for the Texas Parent Teachers Association (PTA) she found her true calling: fighting and advocating for causes that better the lives of teachers, working- and middle-class families, single mothers, and children who need a helping hand.
“Maybe I always knew I had that in me. I was raised by parents who gave back to their community,” Burgess says. “But I recognized when I was there fighting in Austin on behalf of children, parents, and teachers that I was meant to be an advocate for these groups – an advocate for those who sometimes have no voice and no influence.” It was Burgess’ desire to lead change that brought her to announce her candidacy for Harris County District Clerk.
“I have the executive experience needed to turn the District Clerk’s Office around,” Burgess says. “With me, Harris County will get seasoned, measured, smart leadership. I will restore integrity and sound fiscal management to an office badly in need of such qualities.”
Burgess developed her belief in hard work, the value of education, and public service growing up in Spearsville, a northern Louisiana town of 350 people, about five miles from Arkansas. Burgess’ parents were lifelong Democrats. Her father was active in community affairs, representing the Spearsville region in a role similar to county commissioner for twelve years. When her father attended state Democratic conventions, the whole family went along. “I met two or three governors while growing up,” Burgess says.
After Burgess’ mother retired from her position as chair of the local hospital board, she served as mayor of Spearsville during the final years of her life. “Growing up, my parents instilled in me certain core Democratic values. I believe in the important role Social Security plays as a safety net for senior citizens during retirement,” she says. “I believe there is a moral obligation for society to provide good public schools so education can act as the great equalizer for the less well-off.”
Upon graduating from LSU, Burgess accepted a position with a Dallas accounting firm. Later, she moved to Austin, where she raised her daughter as a single mom and was retained as the outside accounting firm for the Texas PTA. That relationship led to her being hired as a full-time staff member at the PTA and, eventually, as its Executive Director.
In that role, she worked with lawmakers to pass legislation for the health, education, and welfare of the children of Texas, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Graduated Driver’s Licensing, and other laws, as well as leading a fight against school vouchers that would have redirected tax dollars to private schools.
In 2002 Burgess moved to Houston, where she served as president of the North Houston-Greenspoint Chamber of Commerce. In that role, she helped win a tax designation favorable to area businesses and gained an intimate knowledge of the needs and concerns of small and large businesses. For the past decade, she has served as Chief Financial Officer at The Fastener Connection, a family-owned fastener company in north Harris County.
Marilyn has been endorsed by 15 area organizations, over 70 Harris County Democratic Precinct Chairs, and many individuals.
Outside of work, Burgess, of Timbergrove, enjoys spending time with her daughter Lindsey and two grandchildren, Reagan (10) and Geoffrey (8), who live in Montgomery.