Burris says he's working hard for Illinois

March 1, 2009 9:10:07 PM PST
Sen. Roland Burris had a message for supporters at a South Side church Sunday night: He's working hard to represent them in Washington.Burris said he plans to continue that work, although there have been more and more calls for him to resign.

The junior senator from Illinois chose the comfort of a Chicago sanctuary to speak directly to his supporters.

Burris has been under scrutiny since changing his story several times about the circumstances surrounding his appointment by former Governor Blagojevich. While there have been several calls for Burris' resignation, the senator would only talk Sunday about his accomplishments, including co-sponsoring a bill recognizing the slaves who built the U.S. capitol.

"It's a long overdue recognition for the part they played during our nations earliest days," Burris told those gathered.

The senator concluded his brief remarks by saying he will continue to serve.

"I will serve you with honesty and integrity. That's all I know, and that's what God gave me. Thank you very much. God bless you," Burris said.

Burris prayed with dozens of ministers before sneaking out the back of the New Covenant Baptist Church without answering any questions from reporters.

The Illinois senator has been avoiding the media for a couple weeks. Sunday night, Burris' supporters asked the media to leave the man alone.

"If you will stop trying to make something out of nothing, you will discover that the senator is the right person for the right job at the right time," said Rev. Dr. Albert Tyson III.

Some ministers say they believe the attacks on Burris have taken an ugly turn, and many believe race is a factor.

Congressman Bobby Rush says Burris has done nothing wrong. Rush also made references to other senators were who accused of wrongdoing whom Rush believes were treated lightly, including Mass. Sen. Ted Kennedy.

"There have been senators who have been drunk, drove off a bridge, people died, no outcry for their resignation" Rush said.

Congressman Rush was referring to the 1969 Chappaquidick incident.

Meantime, public support for Burris continues as do the calls for the senator's resignation. Illinois' senior Sen. Dick Durbin has asked Burris to step down, and Gov. Pat Quinn has been quite vocal calling for Burris' resignation almost daily.

Senator Burris was set to head back to Washington Monday night or early Tuesday.


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