Burris began his political career with a state appointment as director of central management services, a post he held until 1977. He then worked for the civil rights group Operation PUSH and continued his political career. Here, he is congratulated by Chicago Alderman Eugene Sawyer, left, and other well-wishers in1978 in Chicago after Burris defeated Republican banker John Castle for the office of Illinois comptroller. He was the first African American to be elected to a major state office in Illinois.
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