Tommy Burks (May 22, 1940 – October 19, 1998) served in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1970 until 1978, and in the Tennessee State Senate from 1978 until his murder in 1998. Born in Cookeville, Tennessee, Burks was a strong victims’ advocate who sponsored many bills to improve services for victims of crime including establishing a victims’ coalition, expanding access to orders of protection, and supporting a constitutional amendment ensuring victims’ rights. Burks was murdered by his opponent less than a month before his likely re-election. His widow, Charlotte, ran for his seat and won, becoming the first Tennessee State Senator to win as a write-in candidate and one of the very few American politicians to win as a write-in candidate ever. The Senator Tommy Burks Victim Assistance Academy was established in 2008 and is named in memory of this great Tennessean.