Councillor Burgess was elected to the position at the Annual Meeting of the County Council on Thursday 25 May.
As the civic head of the County, the Chairman presides over County Council meetings and ensures they are conducted in line with Standing Orders and that they are a forum for debating issues. He also represents the County Council on royal visits and ceremonial occasions in Hampshire as well as other civic activities and duties.
Councillor Graham Burgess has been in local government since 1998 when he was elected to Gosport Borough Council to represent Lee on the Solent. He joined Hampshire County Council in May 2013, representing Lee on the Solent, Grange and Rowner (the Lee electoral division). He served as Mayor of Gosport in 2005/2006, he has been Deputy Leader of Gosport Borough Council since 2009.
Councillor Burgess previously served as a member of the Royal Navy. He joined in 1966 as a Radio Electrical Mechanic, and completed his service in 1989 as a Weapons Engineer. He later held a position as a Sonar Trials Officer before being promoted to run a large technical department in Portsmouth Dockyard.
Following his election to County Council Chairman, Councillor Burgess said: “I thank my fellow members of Hampshire County Council for electing me as Chairman. I would also like to thank our past Chairman, Keith Chapman and his wife Jennifer, who have had a fantastic year, and carried out many engagements on our behalf.
“My theme this year is the Armed Forces and Veterans of Hampshire. Hampshire has the largest number of serving members of the Armed Forces, as well as veterans. I hope to raise their profile at every opportunity in what they do and what they have achieved, working with our Armed Forces Champion Councillor Andrew Joy.”
Councillor Burgess has been married for 43 years, has two daughters and one granddaughter.
Councillor Elaine Still (County Councillor for the Loddon division) was appointed Vice Chairman of Hampshire County Council.
Outgoing Chairman, Keith Chapman was thanked at the meeting for his past year’s tenure. His highlights included his first Chairman’s Concert, which featured a guest appearance from Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber, and West End star, Gina Beck, and a subsequent concert at The Anvil in Basingstoke, at which some of Hampshire’s most talented young musicians played Carmina Burana, in its entirety.
Keith Chapman also represented the County Council at a number of key events during the year, attending seven Royal visits and over 56 music related events. On stepping down from his role as Chairman, Keith Chapman said: “The aim for my Chairman’s Year of music was to encourage as many young people as possible to get involved with music, either by joining an ensemble or by being part of the audience. I’ve been delighted with what we’ve managed to achieve over the last year. I think what I have been most moved by is the enthusiasm for my theme – from the Hampshire Music Service, to fellow Councillors and of course, the enthusiasm from young people and their parents from across Hampshire who have taken part this year.”