Gov. Rod Blagojevich, teetering on the edge of a political cliff after being impeached, brushed off corruption accusations at a news conference Friday by parading several Illinois residents onstage and touted his accomplishments as governor.
Blagojevich said the 114-1 impeachment vote by the Illinois House of Representatives came as no surprise because of his clashes with lawmakers since his re-election in 2006. He suggested that the House was standing in the way of his service to Illinois families.
"From the very moment of my re-election, I've been engaged in a struggle with the House to get things done for the people," Blagojevich said, citing his efforts to improve health care and cut property taxes.
"The House has stood in the way of letting that happen," he said, contending that his impeachment is related to their ongoing dispute and the failure of lawmakers to help Illinois residents.
"The House has failed to act," he said. "So the House's actions and the cause of the impeachment are because I've done things to fight for families who are with me today."
Among the residents on the stage with the governor were a man in a wheelchair and mothers with their children in tow.
The 52-year-old Democrat maintained his innocence, saying he's "not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing."
The House impeachment vote on Friday came exactly one month to the day after he was arrested on charges of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's Senate seat.
Impeachment required just 60 votes. Friday's decision was unprecedented in Illinois history, and sets the stage for a Senate trial on whether he should be thrown out of office for corruption and abuse of power.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said he'd hoped embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich would resign after the Illinois House's impeachment vote.
At a news conference just minutes after Blagojevich blamed his impeachment on a long-standing dispute with lawmakers, Quinn said it's now important for the Senate to handle Blagojevich's trial with a sense of "solemn responsibility" and he's confident that will happen.
The governor has denied wrongdoing and continues to hold on to office. But lawmakers and officials say the governor has violated the public trust and can no longer perform the duties of his office.
"We need him out and we need him out immediately," Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White told FOX News after the House vote. "The people of the state of Illinois would benefit from his removal."
Blagojevich has tried to assert his authority in recent weeks, continuing to sign legislation and appointing a successor to Obama, former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris. U.S. senators have not yet seated Burris but are in talks with the appointee.
Legislators accused the second-term governor of letting down the people of Illinois by letting ego and ambition drive his decisions.
"It's our duty to clean up the mess and stop the freak show that's become Illinois government," said Rep. Jack D. Franks, a Democrat.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.