Roland Burris Accepts Blago's Senate Seat Appointment
Embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has named Roland Burris as interim Senator for President-elect Barack Obama's former seat. Gov. Blagojevich made his announcement today at 3:00 pm on his choice to fill the vacant U.S. Senate held by Obama. Roland W. Burris is a politician and statewide officer in the U.S. state of Illinois. Burris served as Comptroller of Illinois from 1979 to 1991 and as Attorney General of Illinois from 1991 to 1995. He now maintains a political consulting firm called Burris & Lebed Consulting, LLC.
It can be expected that this announcement will cause more controversy in Illinois among many legislators and politicians.
Shortly after Obama's Nov. 4 victory, Burris made known his interest in an appointment to the Senate but was never seriously considered, according to Blagojevich insiders. But in the days following Blagojevich's arrest, and despite questions over the taint of a Senate appointment, Burris stepped up his efforts to win the governor's support.
Though he is 71, Burris has said that Obama's replacement should be able to win re-election and he has noted that despite a string of primary losses in races ranging from Chicago mayor to governor and U.S. senator, he's never lost to a Republican.
Roland Burris accepts appointment to the U.S. Senate seat. Burris explained that he was in contact with the Gov. Blagojevich on Sunday regarding the Governors desire to make him his choice. Asked if the $14,000 in contributions from Mr. Burris to Blagojevich's campaigns had any influence on the Governor's decision, Mr. Burris replied, "was it that much? I have to check my records". When asked why he would move forward with this appointment Blagojevich explained that he felt obligated to make the appointment since the Illinois legislators did not take the actions necessary to prepare for solving the Senate seat vacancy. Congressman Bobby Rush at the press conference asked that this appointment be looked at as a good decision by the Governor and that the appointee should be separated from the appointor. Rush went further in stating that the U.S. Senate needs to have the presence of an African American and challenging those who would refuse this appointment.
Congressman Bobby Rush: 'This is a matter of national importance. There are no African Americans in the Senate, and I don't think that anyone, any U.S. senator who's sitting in the Senate right now, wanna go on record to DENY one African American from being seated in the U.S. Senate. I don't think they want to go on record doing that'...
This opens the door to what is sure to be political fallout from both sides of the aisle.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has defied U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers by appointing former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate.
Blagojevich announced his decision in Chicago on Tuesday with the 71-year-old Burris at his side.
The governor praised Burris' integrity and said he hopes that the allegations against him don't "taint this good and honest man."
Burris says he's eager to get to work in Washington. He says he's proud of his accomplishments and vowed to uphold the integrity of the office.
Illinois Lt. Governor Quinn immediately responded with his own press conference calling the Governor's actions irresponsible and unacceptable calling for the immediate impeachment of the Governor.