President-elect Barack Obama said today he will step down from his Senate seat effective this Sunday.
The decision adds to the pressure on Gov. Rod Blagojevich, a fellow Democrat, who under state law has the sole responsibility for naming a successor to Obama, the only African-American in the Senate.
“It has been one of the highest honors and privileges of my life to have served the people of Illinois in the United States Senate," Obama said in a statement today.
"In a state that represents the crossroads of a nation, I have met so many men and women who’ve taken different journeys, but hold common hopes for their children’s future," Obama said. "It is these Illinois families and their stories that will stay with me as I leave the United States Senate and begin the hard task of fulfilling the simple hopes and common dreams of all Americans as our nation’s next President.”
Aides to Obama already had said he would not be returning to Washington to vote on Senate matters this fall, in advance of his being sworn in as the nation’s 44th president Jan. 20. Obama was in Chicago today working on transition matters from the Kluczynski Federal Building in the Loop.
Blagojevich has said he expects to make a decision by the end of the year and is “not interested” in naming himself to the post.[...]
Among those who have expressed interest or are being considered for the post are U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston and Luis Gutierrez and Jesse Jackson Jr. of Chicago; Tammy Duckworth, who heads Blagojevich's department of Veterans' Affairs; and Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan and state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, two potential rivals if the governor seeks a third term.
Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr., an African-American and close Blagojevich ally who served as an early Obama mentor, also has been mentioned as a possible replacement.
But Jones, 73, who is leaving his post in the legislature, is considered a caretaker replacement and national Democrats want an appointee who can run for re-election and win in two years.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama to resign
As of Sunday, Senator and President-elect Barack Obama will no longer be a sitting member of the United States Senate as he will be submitting his resignation.