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Burris: " I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election" Transcript

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CHICAGO--Having tried and failed to raise any significant campaign cash, Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) said Friday he won't run in 2010 and will devote the remainder of his term to his senate work.

Burris announced his decision before a room full of supporters and took no questions afterwards. He read a brief statement at the Chicago South Loop Hotel, 2600 S. State St..

Said Burris:

The reality of being in the United States Senate today requires not only a significant time commitment to performing the job, but an almost equal commitment to raising funds to run competitively for the office. Political races have become far too expensive in this country.

And I'm making this -- as I am making this decision, I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of the state of Illinois should always come first. The business of our state should come first. And so, today, I return to the place where my political journey began back in 1978 -- back to the South Side of Chicago, back to my community and my constituency -- to announce, my friends, that I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election, and that I will not run for the United States Senate seat.

Transcript courtesy Federal News Service


AUDIENCE: (Chanting.) Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run! Run, Roland, run!

SEN. BURRIS: Oh my goodness.

AUDIENCE: Run, Roland, run!

SEN. BURRIS: Thank you all so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you. I appreciate all that energy. We're going to need it.

Thank you for joining me here today. I'm here to talk about some important issues --

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.

SEN. BURRIS: -- about the importance of representing the wonderful people of Illinois and how important the United States Senate is to the future of our country.

When I was named to the Senate back in December, I stated that I would serve the two-year term. I felt strongly at that time that Illinois needed two full-time senators, and I still feel that way. I observed the good people of this state for 30 years. Public service means working, advocating, and fighting for your constituents and their needs, day in and day out. That has been my commitment. I've tried to do that every day of my career.

And I'm honored to be a member of the United States Senate at such a critical time in our nation's history. We have a new president with bold ideas for program dealing with health care, the economy, the jobs, schools and the environment -- all important issues for the people of our state and our nation. I am proud to follow in his footsteps in the Senate, and I look forward to continuing to work with him on the pressing issues of our time.

The United States Senate will be at the center of debate for all of those issues. I've been a member of that body now for seven months. And I've been seeing firsthand that my colleagues are thoughtful, dedicated and loyal Americans. That's Democrats and Republicans alike. And it is my hope that we can come together and work together in a bipartisan manner to address these important topics.

Now let me say this: The last point of my remarks deal with my future plans. And, ladies and gentlemen, life is about choices. Make no mistake, I love serving in the United States Senate. Make no mistake about that. I love serving the people of Illinois. Make no mistake about that.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Off mike.)

SEN. BURRIS: (Laughs.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you! We love you! (Applause.)

SEN. BURRIS: I'm the only African-American serving in the Senate.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Right, which is why we need you there.

SEN. BURRIS: And I believe that diversity and representation -- and representing all segments of our society is essential to who we are as a nation. We must have diversity.

The reality of being in the United States Senate today requires not only a significant time commitment to performing the job, but an almost equal commitment to raising funds to run competitively for the office. Political races have become far too expensive in this country. (Applause.)

And I'm making this -- as I am making this decision, I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of the state of Illinois should always come first. The business of our state should come first. And so, today, I return to the place where my political journey began back in 1978 -- back to the South Side of Chicago, back to my community and my constituency -- to announce, my friends, that I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election, and that I will not run for the United States Senate seat.

Last January, in the same month that I was seated, President Obama and Vice President Biden swept into the office, setting our country on a new course and reaffirming the truth of the American dream. The Obama administration and the Democratic-led Congress is bringing transformational changes to this nation, and it is an exciting time to be in public service -- more exciting and more filling with hope and possibility than at the time -- any time that I can remember.

And so I say to the young people -- and I see a few young people in the audience here today -- that this is a world in which you will grow up. This is a world that you will shape and change.

I made a decision as a young man, probably a little bit younger than a few of you are in the room today, to get involved in public life, never imagining that I would have the great honor to serve this state and this country for as long as I did. Now, young people, it is your turn. Now it is your turn to decide how you will serve your community, because you in this room are the next generation of leaders. All of you have the potential to rise to any level you choose.

I'm encouraged at what the future holds. And I look around this room, and I see future educators, community leaders, senators and maybe even a future president of the United States in -- right here in this room.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right -- (off mike).

AUDIENCE MEMBER: All right, all right.

SEN. BURRIS: Serving in public life is not easy, friends. It is a noble and rewarding calling. And for the reminder of my -- remainder of my Senate term, I'm committed to working hard for the people of Illinois in fighting for health care, education, green jobs and safe communities. I'll stand up for our veterans and the security of our country, and the need for our men and women in uniform.

And, as I've done in the past three decades, I will keep fighting for the great people of the state of Illinois. (Applause.) Over time, we have been successful. I want to thank and every one of you for making it possible. As I look around this room and see that -- how long y'all have been with me, and for all the progress that we made together, I am grateful for the partnership, grateful for the leadership, and I'm grateful for the help that all of you all have given me during my political career.

And I thank my family, who have been with me all these years, and my friends, who have always been my core of support, and whose encouragement and support I will never, ever forget. I am proud of everything we have accomplished together. And most of all, I thank the people of Illinois whom I've had the honor of serving in public service and private service for over the past 30 years.

Thank you all very much, and may God bless you. Thank you. (Applause.)

END.

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Burris statement, as prepared....

Senator Roland W. Burris Announces He Will Not Run for United States Senate

CHICAGO, IL - United States Senator Roland W. Burris announced today that he will not seek election to the Senate in 2010. During his announcement, made Friday afternoon during a speech to constituents and community activists on Chicago's South Side, Burris talked about the work he has been engaged in during his seven months in the Senate, his long history of public service to Illinois, the issues he will champion during his remaining time in office, and the reasoning behind his decision not to run for election in 2010.

Burris was elected to statewide office in Illinois four times, serving three terms as Illinois Comptroller and one term as Illinois Attorney General. His current tenure in the United States Senate will expire in January 2011. During his speech this afternoon, Senator Burris made the following remarks:

"Serving in public life is not easy, but it is a noble and rewarding calling." "Life is about choices. Make no mistake that I love serving in the United States Senate. I love serving the people of Illinois. But in making this decision I was called to choose between spending my time raising funds, or spending my time raising issues for my state. I believe that the business of the people of Illinois should always come first." "And so today, I have returned to the place where my political journey began back in 1978, back to the South Side of Chicago, back to my community and my constituency to announce that I will not be a candidate in the 2010 election, and that I will not run for the United States Senate." "I have been a member of the Senate for seven months now, and I have seen firsthand that my colleagues are thoughtful, dedicated, and loyal Americans - Democrats and Republicans alike."

"The Obama Administration and the Democrat-led Congress is bringing transformational change to this nation, and it is an exciting time to be in public service - more exciting and more filled with hope and possibility than at any time I can remember." "I made a decision as a young man to get involved in public life, never imagining I would have the great honor to serve this state and this country for as long as I have. Now it is your turn. Now it is your turn to decide how you will serve your community."

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2 Comments

WHY TAKE A JOB AND NOT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION?
GOOD LUCK TO THE LADY FROM THE URBAN LEAGUE!

Leave now, you never belonged there in the first place.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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