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The bastion of Burkedom: 45 years on city council and counting

On Tuesday, Ald. Edward M. Burke, 70, will have spent 45 years on the City Council, the city’s longest-serving member of all time, reports Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed. The legendary “Dean” of the City Council served under eight mayors (which includes a one-week stint by David Orr) as alderman of the 14th Ward — a post held by his late father, Joseph P. Burke.

Gone are the sideburns, brown hair and dark, horned-rim glasses once sported by a dorky looking young Burke; now replaced by dapper duds and a white helmet of hair, “or what’s left of it,” chirped Burke, who holds the council’s purse strings as its powerful Finance Committee chairman.

Burke’s favorite mayor is Richard J. Daley.

“He had a heart and believed in helping people, And if it weren’t for him, I would never had the chance to be Dem committeeman and alderman.”

His favorite motto?

“Remember the people you meet on the way up because you could meet them on the way down.”

Most infamous escapade?

Leading the City Council in prayer “for intercession of the Holy Spirit” at 4:02 a.m. before a vote count during the infamous Council Wars, which elected a Burke-backed candidate, then-Ald. Gene Sawyer (6th), as the city’s new mayor.

Read Sneed’s full column on Ald. Burke’s career.