36 Facts About Roland Burris


Roland Wallace Burris was born on August 3,1937 and is an American retired Democratic politician and attorney who served as Attorney General of Illinois from 1991 to 1995.


In 1978, Roland Burris was the first African American elected to statewide office in Illinois, when he was elected Illinois Comptroller.


Roland Burris served in that office until his election as Illinois Attorney General in 1990.


Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois.


Roland Burris succeeded Obama as the US Senate's only African American member.


Roland Burris was briefly a candidate for election to a full term but withdrew before the Democratic primaries in the 2010 elections.


Roland Burris was born and raised in the small community of Centralia in southern Illinois.

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Roland Burris was a 1955 graduate of Centralia High School.


Roland Burris attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1959.


Roland Burris was an exchange student on scholarship to study International Law at the University of Hamburg in Germany.


Roland Burris earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Howard University School of Law in 1963.


Roland Burris has built a mausoleum for himself in Oak Woods Cemetery on Chicago's South Side.


Roland Burris's tombstone reads "TRAIL BLAZER" and includes a list of his accomplishments, with space left for future ones.


Roland Burris headed a commercial group that covered government guaranteed loans and minority business banking.


In 1985, Roland Burris was selected for the position of Vice-Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.


Roland Burris sought the Democratic nomination for the office of Illinois Comptroller in 1976, but was defeated by Michael Bakalis.


In 1978 Bakalis did not seek re-election as Comptroller, choosing to run for Governor and Roland Burris won the Comptrollership.


Roland Burris was re-elected as Comptroller in 1982 and 1986.


Roland Burris was the first African American to be elected to a statewide office in the state of Illinois.


Roland Burris was elected Illinois Attorney General in 1990, serving from 1991 to 1995, where he supervised over 500 lawyers.


In 1992, Assistant Attorney General Mary Brigid Kenney, whom Roland Burris had assigned to fight Cruz's appeal, sent Roland Burris a memo identifying numerous errors in the investigation and trial in Cruz's initial conviction, and refusing to participate in upholding what she considered to be a wrongful conviction.


In 1995, Burris ran as an independent for mayor of Chicago, losing to incumbent Richard M Daley.


Roland Burris acted as a lobbyist for the IFDA trust during early 2007 through 2008.


Roland Burris has refused comment on the scandal citing "it was 30 years ago".


Consequently, a group of funeral directors have subpoenaed Roland Burris to find out his involvement during his time as lobbyist.

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On December 14,2008, Roland Burris suggested himself as a possible caretaker for the United States Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, saying he would not run for election if appointed.


Roland Burris realized that such an action might look like he was trying to buy the seat and wanted to find a way to avoid that perception.


Roland Burris acknowledged Rod Blagojevich requested "assistance in fund-raising" for the governor three times in the weeks and months before Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris.


Roland Burris stated that he told the governor's brother Rob Blagojevich that he could not donate to Gov.


On February 16, in comments to reporters, Roland Burris told reporters that the governor's brother had asked him to raise ten- to fifteen-thousand dollars for the governor in October 2008.


Roland Burris said that after the phone call, he "talked to some people about trying to see if we could put a fundraiser on," but that no one was willing to donate to the governor.


Roland Burris promised to "personally do something" for Blagojevich's campaign.


In 2009, Senator Roland Burris was named one of the 15 Most Corrupt Members of Congress by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.


Just as Revels, Bruce, Brooke, Braun, and Obama had been the Senate's only African American member, Roland Burris was the only black Senator during his term in office.


Roland Burris's term ended on November 29,2010, with the swearing-in of his elected successor, Mark Kirk, who had won election to the unexpired term, not just to the full 6-year term.


Roland Burris cited the high cost of running a campaign as a major reason for not seeking election, saying he would rather continue to serve the people of Illinois than try to raise money for a campaign.