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Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns dies; influenced energy policy

Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns dies; influenced energy policy

Former Montana Sen. Conrad Burns, a former cattle auctioneer whose folksy demeanor and political acumen earned him three terms and the bitter disdain of his opponents, died Thursday. He was 81.

Burns died of natural causes at his home in Billings, Montana Republican Party Executive Director Jeff Essmann said.

"He was a colorful figure who loved people, politics and to serve," Essmann said. "He brought a common-man, common-sense approach to his work in the Senate, and returned to his home in Billings when his work was done."

As a Republican senator, Burns used his influence on the powerful appropriations panel to set the course on energy...

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