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04/13/2010

Will Burns: Alderman, "One Way or Another"

  The only surprise is that 26th District State Representative Will Burns (D-Kenwood) would make a move only 15 months into his first term. 

  Burns, the freshman rep who made a name for himself as an aide to one-time State Senator Barack Obama and adviser to former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, won election to the Illinois House in November of 2008 and took office the following January.  This week, he confirmed his plan to replace 4th Ward Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, the democratic nominee for and "lead pipe cinch" to be elected Cook County Board President.

  "I do think that in the Chicago political culture, the alderman has a higher profile than a state rep", Burns told me.  "As Alderman, you really are involved in the every day life of the community."

  Preckwinkle is quoted saying she'll recommend Burns to Mayor Richard M. Daley who will appoint her replacement when presumably she takes over at the County Building in December.  Burns says even if Daley names someone else to serve the remaining weeks of Preckwinkle's term, he'll run for the council "one way or another" in the February, 2011 city election.

  The married father of a two year old daughter holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Chicago.  He says he has a good relationship with Mayor Daley who lives in Burns' southside legislative district.

  I don't want to get ahead of myself here but city council sounds like a "way station" for the ambitious 36 year old Burns. He knows that the three of the city's representatives in the United States House of Representatives (Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Luis Gutierrez) were aldermen before their elections to Congress.

  And while I can't remember the last time a Chicago alderman ran for mayor and won, Burns is an articulate African-American with "cross-over" appeal who would have to be considered "timber" to succeed  Daley who cannot go on forever.

  Will Burns.

  Remember the name.

  

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