Illinois Senator (D – Ret.) Roland Burris was at Gate 11 for United Airlines flight 621 from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC, as I walked up (the same flight Paul Ryan was running to catch). After exchanging pleasantries with well-wishers, Burris, the state’s first African American elected to state-wide office, granted what turned out to be a long interview, considering the fact we were waiting to board a plane.
Burris started by stating that he was at the Inauguration twice. In 2009 he was there and said he never thought America would elect a black president. Later he was able to serve as the “replacement Senator” for the seat that was open by President Obama’s election. The problem is that chance came with controversy: he was the appointee of then-Gov Ron Blagojevich, who was already under investigation for ethics violations, and is now in prison serving a 14-year sentence.
But the way he got to the seat launched a probe that Burris emerged from undamaged. In my interview he said about his time at the Senate that he enjoyed it and he still to this say “gets to do everything but vote.”