Roland Burris

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Roland Wallace Burris (born August 3, 1937) is a former United States Senator from the state of Illinois and a member of the Democratic Party. In 1978, Burris was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Illinois, when he was elected Illinois Comptroller. He served in that office until his election as Illinois Attorney General in 1990. Since then, he has unsuccessfully run for office four more times. Burris was appointed by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to replace President-Elect Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois. The appointment was controversial, as the governor was already under investigation and there were rumors of his being paid for the appointment. Prior to Burris's appointment, Obama was the U.S. Senate's only African American; he resigned his Senate seat after being elected President of the United States. Burris was the subject of an ethics probe. Burris was born and raised in the small community of Centralia in southern Illinois. The Burris family can trace their roots to American slaves in the American South, mainly in the states of Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. He was a 1955 graduate of Centralia High School.

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