Clair Burgener (December 5, 1921-), an American Republican politician and former member U.S. House of Representatives.
Clair Burgener was 1921 born in Vernal, Utah. He grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah and graduated, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was a realtor in the early 1950s.
In 1951 Burgener was on the stage of the Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park playing Elwood P. Dowd in "Harvey" for a 33-day run.
At a cocktail party one evening, as related by Lionel Van Deerlin, an oilman from Texas said "I like the cut of your jib, young fella," the man began. "If you do go into politics, I'd like to help. Here's a check for five thousand dollars. Cash it whenever you decide to run." A few months later Burgener ran for a city council vacency, but returned the check writing "Thank you very much, but I feel it would be improper to accept so large an amount from a single out-of-state contributor."
Burgener was elected to the city council in 1953, serving until 1957. Burgener was then elected to the California State Assembly 1962-1966, California State Senate, 1967-1972, and four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1973 to 1983. He had a mostly conservative voting record, but often crossed party lines to work with Van Deerlin, a Democrat to further San Diego interests.
In 1980, white supremacist Tom Metzger won the Democratic primary in Burgener's district. The Democrats disavowed Metzger and endorsed Burgener, clinching his election to a fifth term. Burgener dug up and publicized Megzger's frequent, ill-conceived statements and won the election with 82f the vote. In 1982 he did not seek reelection and retired.
Burgener remained active in civic and political affairs after his retirement. He was a Regent of the University of California during 1988-1997. After one of Burgener's children was diagnosed as retarded, Burgener became a champion of mentally-disabled children. He has done much work for, and has headed various associations and committees helping retarted children, including the Clair Burgener Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled.
A few years ago Congressman Burgener was diagnosed with Alzheimers and continues to live in Rancho Santa Fe, California, with his wife Marvia. They have two sons, John and Greg.
Named for Burgener are the Clair Burgener Academy, Oceanside, California, and The Clair Burgener Clinical Research Diagnostic Unit, University of California, San Diego.