December 30, 2008

Blagojevich Appoints Roland Burris to Replace Barack Obama in US Senate

Only three African Americans ... Ed Brooke, Carol Moseley-Braun and Barack Obama ... have served as a United States senator since the end of Reconstruction era. It appears that Gov. Blagojevich wants to add a fourth nubian to the list.

Blagojevich will name former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the Senate later today.

Born in Centralia, Illinois, Roland Burris received his bachelor's degree in political science from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1959. He then studied at the University of Hamburg, Germany, for a year before entering law school at Howard University.

Burris began his career in 1963 as a national bank examiner for the U.S. Treasury Department. This gave him the honor of being the first African American to examine banks in the United States. From 1964 to 1973, he served as vice president of Continental Illinois National Bank, making significant contacts in both the corporate and African American communities. Burris began his government career in 1973 as director of the Illinois Department of General Services. In 1978, with his election to the first of three terms as state comptroller, he made history as the first African American elected to state office.

On November 6, 1990, Roland W. Burris was elected attorney general for the state of Illinois. At that time, the only African American ranking higher in state office was Douglas Wilder, the governor of Virginia. He served as Illinois attorney general from 1991 to 1995.

Burris is now an attorney with the Peters law firm in Chicago, where he specializes in environmental, consumer affairs and estate law. Previously he was managing partner of the Chicago-based law firm of Jones, Ware & Grenard, one of the largest minority law firms in the country. Burris previously ran and lost bids for the U.S. senate and governor.

If Burris makes it to Washington DC, he would be the only African American in the U.S. Senate.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows. I've never heard of Roland Burris before today. What are your thoughts about this appointment?


Kim said...

I never heard of this man, I must say he looks very "seasoned" Interesting but we will see. I do feel bad for Jackson, Jr. His name is bit tainted now as if it wasn't difficult enough have Rev Jesse Jackson as a father. I do admire Rev.Jackson for the most part.

Unknown said...

Kim - He's in his 70s. I imagine that this would be a great way to go out as a politician if he can get sworn in next week. It appears that a lot of folks are coming out against his appointment ... not because of him, but because of the governor.

I've shared my thoughts on Rev. Jesse Jackson in the past. I wish he had simply stepped off the stage a few years ago.

SjP said...

Roland Burris is a household name in Illinois politics - particularly during the 70s threw the mid-90s. It is unfortunate that this appointment comes on and at the heels of the Blago scandal. I was really pulling for JJJ to get the seat because I really believe that its time for the "young folk" to take the reigns of leadership to move us into the future. But, if able, I truly believe thay Burris will be just fine. In my opinion, if it were not for age (no agism intended just the truth), he probably should have been the choice all along.

But, I tell you this - Blago is a fox! In less than 5 short minutes, he was able to take the national focus completely off tick off Harry Reid - get a former Black Panther turned US Representative to play the race card of sorts - and take the media attention completely of his own trials and tribulations. Illinois politics and politicians at their best - or worst, depending on your frame of reference.

Pat R said...

Blagojevich is the embodiment of political crookedness

Unknown said...

SjP - Thank you for the insights on Roland Burris. I literally had not heard of him until yesterday. In the end, he is a credible appointee ... and Blagojevich is the legally-elected governor of Illinois. Those are the only two relevant factoids in my view...

Monkey - He does seem like a political junkie and this move appears to be politically brilliant...

Mac Daddy Tribute Blog said...

Burriss is will known in Illinois as a straight-up politician. And that's why I think the governor appointed him-- to say, "See, I'm an honest guy. I appointed Burriss to fill Obama's seat!" Although the governor has the legal right to do this, although I don't think democrats in congress to deny him, I wish Burriss hadn't allowed himself to be used this way.

CCG said...

Ditto; I also had not heard of him before today.

However, it is unfortunate that his political already tainted via the way he achieved office.

Nonetheless, I wish him well.


Hello there!

I worked on the Burris campaign when he ran against Daley for Mayor in 1995.

Burris has always been a mainstay on the political scene in Illinois. He's in his 71 but Vernon Jordan is in his 70s.

Vernon is still at the forefront of the political action even while operating in the background of the Democratic Party.

With black politicians, their advanced age is an asset because people realize that if they have been around THAT LONG on the political scene and there is no major scandal attached to thema and they have a proven track record of distinction and wise leadership, then they are credible to serve.

It's great to have the younger leaders but they haven't been seasoned in the political fire. No one knows how they will handle themselves under REAL fire and through the maze of personal life challenges in the public eye. The "old timers" have proven that their image is not a PR-crafted one.

The best part about Burris getting this seat with this scandal is that it brings more media attention to him.

Obama wasn't a household name until he showed up at the DNC to give a speech! Hardly anyone knew who he was. He had NO national media attention.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Unknown said...

MacDaddy & CCGroovy - Philadelphia Phillies scored a few runs in the World Series on errors made by their opponents. Nobody discredits their world championship because of the Tampa Bay errors. I figure that if Roland Burris gets sworn in next week as a US Senator ... he won't have to live down the errors of Blagojevich. When they write the history books he will be known as one of only 4 Black Senators since Reconstruction. I won't second-guess the guy...

Lisa - Asante sana for sharing your personal account of the Roland Burris. It helps strengthen my thought that he does nothing wrong by accepting the nomination from Blagojevich...