‘We Need A Few More Chimney Sweeps’: Burgess Owens Stresses The Value Of The American Dream — And Second Chances

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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NFL legend Burgess Owens took the stage Wednesday at the Republican National Convention to talk about the value of the American Dream — and the value of second chances.

Owens’ story began in the belly of a slave ship, where an eight-year-old named Silas Burgess made his way to America. Silas later escaped from slavery through the Underground Railroad, settling in Texas and building a new life there. (RELATED: Burgess Owens Takes Democrats To Task For Undoing What Black Americans Did For Themselves)

“I’m here today, a candidate for Congress, because of my great great grandfather, Silas Burgess,” Owens said.


Owens went on to tell his own personal story of highs and lows — from being drafted by the New York Jets at the age of 22 to moving his family of six into a basement apartment when he lost everything after leaving the NFL.

“I worked as a chimney sweep during the day and a security guard at night. It was humbling to be recognized cleaning a chimney by someone who once cheered for me as an NFL fan,” Owens continued. “But those hard days would pay off, and eventually I began a rewarding career in the corporate world.”

“We live in a country where we’re encouraged to dream big,” Owens went on. “Where second chances are at the core of our American identity. We don’t hear that same message from Nancy Pelosi’s Congress. Career politicians, elitists and even a former bartender, want us to believe that’s impossible. They want us to believe that what I did, what my great-great grandfather did, is impossible for ordinary Americans.”

Owens pivoted to talk about President Donald Trump, saying that he believed Trump would continue to clear a path for Americans who wanted to build businesses and lives in the United States.

“I’m running for Congress because we don’t need more career politicians. We need a few more chimney sweeps,” Owens concluded. “We need more leaders like President Trump who understand the freedoms that make up the fabric of America.”