Illinois Senate Career of Barack Obama

The Illinois Senate career of Barack Obama began in with the 1997 swearing in of Obama to his first term in the Illinois Senate and ended with his 2004 election to the United States Senate. During this part of his career, Obama continued teaching constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School as he had done as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996–2008.

In 1994, Senator Alice Palmer announced her desire to run for the United States House of Representatives, leaving the Senate's 13th district seat open. When filing opened in 1995 for her seat, Obama entered the race. Eventually, his challengers were disqualified and he won the Democratic primary unopposed in 1996. He won re-election in 1998 and 2002. During his Senate tenure, Obama was involved with a wide range of legislation. While serving, he ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in the 2000 elections. In the redistricting following 2000 Census, the Democrats gained control of the Illinois Senate, and Obama became more active in his legislation, which included work in areas such as health care, labor, law enforcement, campaign finance reform, welfare, and community reinvestment.

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... Congress to Bobby Rush, Obama worked to repair relations with black politicians and clergy members, telling them he bore no grudges against the victor ... Senator Trotter, then the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in 2008 that he knew Obama was responding more to funding requests "because ... and had helped ensure ten uninterrupted years of Republican control of the Illinois Senate ...

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