Democratic Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have released a joint statement indicating that Roland Burris, appointed by embattled governor Rod Blagojevich, is now the Senator-designate from Illinois and will be sworn in as President-elect Barack Obama’s replacement in the Senate on January 15, 2009.
From Raw Story,
Democratic leaders Monday endorsed the bid by Illinois attorney Roland Burris to succeed president-elect Barack Obama in the Senate, after a row over his appointment by the state’s impeached governor.
Senate Democratic majority leader Harry Reid and his top lieutenant Senator Dick Durbin said Burris had provided fresh paperwork confirming his appointment after his credentials were rejected as incomplete last week.
“We have spoken to Mr. Burris to let him know that he is now the Senator-designate from Illinois and as such, will be accorded all the rights and privileges of a Senator-elect,” the two leaders said in a statement.
“Accordingly, barring objections from Senate Republicans, we expect Senator-designee Burris to be sworn in and formally seated later this week.
“We are working with him and the office of the Vice President to determine the date and time of the swearing-in.”
Blagojeich, successfully impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives on January 9th, requested upon Burris’ appointment, “Please don’t allow the allegations against me to taint this good and honest man.” Democrats determined to prevent Burris from being seated initially rejected the Burris appointment on grounds of unacceptable paperwork.
Burris was named to the Illinois Senate seat by scandal-tainted Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was arrested and accused of trying to sell off the plum position in return for political favors.
Democrats, fearing the political impact of accepting any senator picked by Blagojevich, turned Burris away from the Senate last week when he came to claim the seat, arguing his paperwork was not in order.
Burris praised Senators Reid and Durbin in a statement on the 12th and thanked them for the opportunity to work for the Obama administration alongside them.
“I’m truly humbled and honored to learn that later this week I will officially be sworn into the United States Senate as the Illinois junior senator.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve and I ask for your support and prayers, so that I may work with you, my senator — my Senate colleagues and our new president to succeed at the challenges which face our state and our country.
I would like to publicly thank Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and my long-time friend and Illinois’ senior senator, Dick Durbin. Never once did I doubt their intentions were motivated by anything other than doing what was right for the people of Illinois and by what they believed had to be done to protect the Senate as an institution. It will be my honor to both serve with them and to learn from them.”
– Roland Burris, January 12 2009