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Former Utah legislator and education advocate Kim Burningham dies at age 80

Kim Burningham, Image courtesy University of Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — Kim Burningham, a former Utah legislator and member of the State Board of Education, has died at age 80.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statement regarding Burningham’s death Friday.

“Kim was well known for his passionate support of an open government and a strong education system,”the governor stated in part.

According to a biography from the University of Utah, Burningham served as chairman of the Utah State Board of Education for seven years and advocated on behalf of various education causes for decades. Burningham earned a B.S. in Language Arts from the U of U as well as a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and an MFA from the University of Southern California.

Burningham also spent 27 years at Bountiful High School, where he taught and coached speech, debate and drama.

Sheryl Allen, who followed Burningham in representing the Utah House’s 19th District after he retired from legislative service in the 90s, said Burningham had great respect for other people. She said he was an incredible man who had high expectations for politicians.

The full statement from Gov. Herbert is below:

“Jeanette and I were sorry to hear of the passing of Kim Burningham, former member of the legislature, the State Board of Education, and a community advocate. Kim was well known for his passionate support of an open government and a strong education system. He was a great example of civic engagement and community service. From the countless students he influenced as a teacher to the thousands of citizens impacted through his work in state government and education, Kim leaves a legacy of exemplary service and dedication to the common good. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kim’s wife Susan, their sons and their grandchildren.”