SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
“Generally speaking, my political career was built on goodwill and accommodation”

Monday, Jul 7, 2014

* Sun-Times

His detractors ridiculed him as “Al the Pal.”

His supporters never quite saw that as an insult.

Former Sen. Alan J. Mr. Dixon carved out a four-decade long career in Illinois’ rough-and-tumble politics by essentially being a nice guy.

Opponents dimissed him as an old-school glad hander. But the Belleville Democrat prided himself on being able to get along with Democrats and Republicans alike and “sit down and make a deal.”

Mr. Dixon, 86, died Sunday morning at his downstate home.

* Post-Dispatch

Sen. Dixon became police magistrate when he was still a law student — the same year Harry S Truman was inaugurated for a full-term as president: 1949.

He won every election after that: for state representative, state senator, state treasurer, secretary of state, before winning election to the Senate in 1981. He was re-elected six years later.

“I got beat once, that’s a pretty good average,” Sen. Dixon told an interviewer in 2002.

He added: “I was smart enough when I got beat to quit.”

* From his hometown paper, the Belleville News-Democrat

Former Gov. James Thompson, a Republican and 40-year friend of Dixon, said Sunday he last saw Dixon a year ago when he was signing copies of his book “The Gentleman from Illinois.” Thompson wrote the book’s forward.

“He was just a magnificent guy to know. He did the state of Illinois proud,” Thompson said. “He used to say, ‘Listen, pal, we can get these things done.’” […]

Dixon is survived by his wife Joan “Jody” Dixon, and three children, Stephanie (Doug) Yearian, of Waterloo; Jeffrey (Stacy) Dixon, of Chicago; Elizabeth (Stuart) Megaw, of Fairfax, Va. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements for Dixon are pending at Renner Funeral Home.

* Tribune

Last year, Dixon published a memoir titled, “The Gentleman From Illinois: Stories From Forty Years of Elective Public Service.”

“Generally speaking, my political career was built on goodwill and accommodation,” he wrote. […]

[Carol] Moseley Braun, who won the three-way [1992 Democratic primary against Dixon and Al Hofeld], said Dixon “was always a gentleman.”

“That level of civility really needs a resurrection in our politics today,” she said, reached by phone Sunday night.

* Governor Pat Quinn…

“Alan Dixon had a patriot’s determination to do what was best for his state and nation.

“Alan Dixon served with distinction in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, two statewide elected offices, and as our United States Senator.

“He was a statesman, but he was also a warm and friendly soul who never met a stranger.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Dixon’s family, friends and people whose lives he touched. He will be missed.”

* House Speaker Michael J. Madigan…

“Alan Dixon was one of a kind. A great leader and representative who always put the public’s interests first.

“He was a great friend. Shirley and I offer our sympathies to his family and our prayers they be given the strength to endure these sad times.”

* US Sen. Dick Durbin…

“From his days as a Police Magistrate in Belleville to his leadership position in the United States Senate, Alan Dixon was known for his honesty, his hard work and his commitment to the state he loved. Alan was the first statewide Democrat to voluntarily make a full disclosure of his net worth. Alan started the first bipartisan Illinois Congressional lunches, a tradition which continues to this day. His friendships reached across the aisle and across our state. I lost a pal today and Illinois lost a man who brought honor to public service.”

* Secretary of State Jesse White…

“The state of Illinois lost a dedicated public servant today in Alan Dixon. Senator Dixon was a man of integrity who always voted his conscience and had a unique ability to build consensus through compromise.

“As former Illinois Secretary of State, Dixon moved the office forward in a way that focused on customer service.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and to his friends. I was privileged to work with him, and to call him my friend. Alan Dixon will be missed.”

* Even some Republicans issued statements. US Sen. Mark Kirk…

“Alan Dixon was a dedicated public servant who spent the majority of his life representing the people of Illinois. But for his leadership, Illinois would have lost Scott Air Force Base - the largest employer south of I-80. We owe Alan a debt of gratitude for all he did for our state.”

* Tim Schneider, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party…

“We are saddened at the loss of Sen. Dixon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and we thank him for his service to our state.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


17 Comments
  1. - Stones - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    A class act. Senator Dixon understood the art of the deal and the fact that you need relationships to get things done in politics. Condolences to his family.


  2. - A guy... - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:01 am:

    A Statesman by any measure. One of Illinois’ finest.


  3. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:02 am:

    Alan J. Dixon was a fully seasoned political veteran when he was elected to the US Senate in 1980. He had a long and distinguished career in Illinois government as our treasurer and secretary of state, and before that as a legislator from Bellville Illinois in the General Assembly. Senator Dixon was a WWII veteran and his rise and service as a public official from Illinois, reflects what we have come to see and admire about that generation of Americans. He believed in public service, he believed in bipartisan cooperation and he believed in serving our state well. As a US Senator, Alan did that and we remember him for his selfless work for Illinois.

    “Generally speaking, my political career was built on goodwill and accommodation”

    However, after a long and distinguished public career in Illinois, Senator Dixon discovered himself as a target within the 1992 Democratic Senate primary. David Axelrod had partnered with millionaire lawyer Al Hofeld, who then spent millions of Hofeld’s millions running 30 second television ads across Illinois targeting incumbent senator Dixon as a senator who favored special interests over Illinoisans. Axelrod’s Hofeld television ads carpeted our state and suggested that Dixon took thousands in PAC money from banks and military businesses in exchange for senate favors. For several months, Axelrod and Hofeld drove Dixon’s image down, threatening his renomination.

    This Axelrod/Hofeld onslaught against Dixon created an opportunity for Carol Mosely Braun, who decided that she could win the nomination as an unabashed Chicago liberal. As an African American woman, Braun was seen as a completely different type of candidate, apart from the typical middle-aged white males the representing Illinois. When Senator Dixon voted to confirm Clarence Thomas as a US Supreme Court justice, Braun was positioned within the primary to win Democratic voters who opposed that decision.

    After decades of being “Al the pal” to everyone he worked with both in elected offices and on Illinois streets, Alan Dixon discovered that being an excellent public official wasn’t enough in a world where sharp political elbows filled with millions could gin up a voter backlash and demonize him. Dixon would have easily been reelected that November for many more years as our non-ideological US Senator, but couldn’t survive Axelrod’s onslaught and Braun’s powerful partisan appeal.

    Dixon belongs to an age when bipartisanship, cooperation, public service and results were held in high esteem by both political parties and considered the highest qualifiers for elected office. His 1992 Democratic primary loss was a signal that political moderation was a disqualifier, even for a seasoned political veteran. Alan J. Dixon is today, admired for what we no longer see in our elected officials today.


  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    Genuinely a nice guy. Here’s to a full life.


  5. - One of Al's Pals - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    He was one of the best political figures of last 100 years in Illinois. He had the gift of working out problems in the General Assembly. He would had made a great Governor. He was one of the last old timers in the system when it worked. It was great to see him one last time at Boone’s signing his book. He had same flare and longing for the political game.
    We miss you Al cause we always thought of you as not only a political leader but your friend and pal.


  6. - William j Kelly - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    My wife Laura and I both had the great honor of serving as interns in sen. Dixon’s office. He was an example of everything that is right about public service, he will be truly missed.


  7. - Sir Reel - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:21 am:

    Old school. I wish today’s Congress had more like him.


  8. - ... - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    VanillaMan, as he does often, summed it up very well.


  9. - Regnad Kcin - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 11:01 am:

    VanillaMan and Stones are right on point. Hard to find people like him still in the business in either party because they get knocked off in the primary for not being “pure”.


  10. - LisleMike - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    My father served as his press secretary and aide during his years in Treasurer’s office and Secretary of state. My father died the week before Alan went to Washington, but Alan made sure to come to the funeral none the less. He was a gentleman and always spotted me in whatever crowd he was adressing and no matter the size, he made his way over to me and wish me well. He was one of a kind!


  11. - Adam Smith - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    1984. Late on election night. A handful of Chuck Percy’s campaign staffers are drowning their sorrows at the bar at the Hyatt Regency after losing to Paul Simon. They see a solitary figure making his way across the lobby towards the exit. Upon recognizing him as Senator Dixon, one of the senior staffers who is acquainted with him waves. Dixon immediately recognizes him, walks over, graciously greets everyone, including the lowly intern (me), offers to buy a round and has a drink with us. He had privately, without any staff, just visited Sen. Percy to express his condolences on his loss. He then spent about 45 minutes with the staff telling stories and assuring everyone that their world had not just ended.

    Absolute class.


  12. - Interested Observer - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    Nicest and most thoughtful Democrat I ever met in politics. The Democratic Party dumping him for Carol Mosely Braun opened a whole new era in nasty partisan politics in Illinois.


  13. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 12:50 pm:

    One of the best public servants in Illinois who truly enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle. He was a conservative Democrat who could pull Republican votes. Since his upset in the primary (when will Illinois wise up and approve run-off primaries?) has result in musical chairs in the US Senate since his departure.


  14. - Upon Further Review - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 12:51 pm:

    Sorry for the typos!


  15. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    It would be great if people stuck to the positive today and leave the partisanship for another day.

    Thanks to Al Dixon for his service and condolences to his family.


  16. - Tom Joad - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:27 pm:

    Senator Dixon was the greatest public speaker of the last 50 years. He could get a crowd wound up and hooting and hollering every time he gave a speech. People looked forward to hearing him speak. When it came to helping the Democratic ticket he was always willing to cut radio ads and make appearances for all the candidates on the ticket.
    Every office he held he improved.


  17. - CirularFiringSquad - Monday, Jul 7, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    One can only wonder if Dixon would have pushed back against Richard J. and ran for Governor. He would have faced Big Jim. There would have been no Howlett or Sun Steel and probably no Thompson. Certainly no Edgar.
    Alan Dixon was a very good public official and a better pol. He voted his personal view on a mope,Clarence Thomas, and got caught in a three way primary. Hofeld spent the $$$ CMB smiled and then literally held on to defeat Rich Williamson.
    Then he did yeoman’s work on the base closing commission — a semi thankless job that needed to be done.
    Job Well Done. R.I.P. and a prayer of comfort for your family.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* HFS to reimburse all Medicaid providers that treat children
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Nailed it
* *** UPDATED x1 - Cullerton: "Nope" *** "Sincerely, Bruce"
* The "puppetmaster"
* Question of the day
* A few bits of common sense
* This Just In: Exelon Profits Up 22.2 Percent in 2nd Quarter
* Casino company acquires video gaming operator
* Yes, there are plenty of people to replace Kirk
* Mansion roof to be fixed
* The trend is not our friend
* *** UPDATED x1 - "Willful misreading" *** Duckworth: "I screwed up"
* Rate IllinoisGO's new online ad
* Because... Madigan
* Today's number: 76 percent
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Good morning!
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Online US Sony Store shutting down this August 28
        * Mobile Marketing And Analytics Startup WizRocket Lands $8M From Sequoia And Accel
        * Parrot scraps plans to bring its RNB 6 Android Auto head unit to general public after teaming up with car makers
        * ZTE Axon now available thru Amazon, Newegg, eBay, as promised
        * Sony’s IFA 2015 Press Conference is on September 2nd
        * NVIDIA recalls SHIELD Tablets due to overheating, possible fire hazard
        * Sony’s ‘Super Mid-Range’ Xperia M5 has a 21MP Rear Camera with super-quick Hybrid Focus

        * White Sox Minor League Update: Aug. 2-8
        * Soto hits 100th big league home run
        * Samardzija knocked around by Yankees
        * White Sox at critical juncture to keep hope alive
        * Rejuvenated offense signals turnaround
        * Yankees 12, White Sox 3: Jeff Samardzija bombed in finale
        * Samardzija knocked around by Yankees

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * EXCHANGE: Trains entertain, educate botanical center guests
        * Lollapalooza ends 30 minutes early due to weather in Chicago
        * Moline woman charged in 4-month-old grandson's death
        * Illinois trooper honored for rescue of man in submerged car
        * Southern Illinois cities embrace golf carts on public roads
        * Storms with high winds, rain and hail pound Chicago area
        * Rauner signs bill requiring airport breast-feeding rooms
        * Facebook group helps McHenry County girl find stuffed animal
        * Safety cited in Winnebago County bid for more jail guards
        * Report finds accounting problems in East St. Louis

        * Lawmakers evade pressure to buckle on budget
        * Statehouse Insider: What took them so long?
        * Executive Mansion to get new roof; fundraising event coming up
        * Blagojevich attorney says he'll ask full court for rehearing
        * Executive Mansion to get roof replaced for $493K
        * Illinois' health insurance co-op among those struggling
        * Court ruling helps some child care providers amid ongoing state budget impasse
        * Rauner, AFSCME reach another contract extension; governor vetoes bill to prohibit strike, lockout
        * Court ruling helps some child care providers
        * Private employers now can give hiring preference to veterans after Rauner signs law

        * Carmakers to buy unit including former Navteq
        * Were you in the Lollapalooza crowd?
        * This old artifact is brought to you by new money
        * Northwestern's $560 million man
        * For Navteq, a sale to its customers might be the route to success


          * 15 wounded, including 2 children, in shootings citywide
          * Gary man shot, killed on Broadway
          * Volo man charged with unlawful use of a weapon
          * Woman in custody after allegedly firing shots at police in Schaumburg
          * Storms to roam the area ahead of cool-down
          * Motorcyclist dead, 2 hurt in I-57 crash
          * South Holland trustee's brother made $555,000 from village
          * Recovery team continues search for Carol Stream woman
          * Toddler girl falls from window on South Side
          * Byrne Interchange work: Get ready for traffic heartburn


          * Dick Haas: Critical to strengthen Illinois' public record
          * Lawmakers evade pressure to buckle on budget
          * Statehouse Insider: What took them so long?
          * Statehouse Insider: What took them so long?
          * Angie Muhs: Diverse views and healthy dialogue
          * Our Opinion: Don't sit on the sidelines of government
          * House Speaker Michael Madigan: Solving Illinois' crisis requires coming together in moderation
          * David Gerlach: Lincoln College ready to serve students
          * Charles Krauthammer: Among the ruins, a case of righteousness
          * Executive Mansion to get new roof; fundraising event coming up


          * Area history, Aug. 3, 2015
          * Stable funding from Springfield?
          * The Future Five, Aug. 3, 2015
          * 'Mission: Impossible' cruises to easy victory
          * Districts helping students get medically prepared for school
          * Verizon strike possible as contract deadline looms
          * Astronomers gather in Hawaii amid telescope tensions
          * Weather briefly shuts festival
          * History and more in Harlem
          * Invisible women? Hollywood may be confronting its female superhero problem


          * Funnel cloud, severe storm damage reported in Grayslake
          * Police: Messages for No. 1 Mafioso hidden in Sicilian soil
          * Massachusetts woman's chicken getting $2,500 prosthetic leg
          * Cowboys' Bryant has prolonged incident with teammate at camp
          * Images: Sunday at Lollapalooza

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Task force hopes to help Mitsubishi, its e......

          * Possible Kirk Challenger Sounds Off - Alto......
          * Possible Kirk Challenger Sounds Off - Rive......

          * "Women Betrayed" protest Chicago's Planned Parenthood
          * Sen. Rand Paul In Niles (Full Speech)
          * RNC Committeewoman Demetra DeMonte: I'm As Frustrated As You Are [Video]
          * Fund: The Weak Link in the GOP Senate Majority?
          * Arn: NIU Diversity Officer To Make More Than Every Governor And Member of Congress
          * Starkehaus: With Congress’s threats against whistleblowers, are Dems undermining boycotts?
          * Illinois House passes measure to reject lawmakers' automatic pay raise
          * The 800th Anniversary of Magna Carta: Its Enduring Legacy – 1215-2015
          * Seatbelt Usage Reaches 95% On Illinois Roads
          * Anti-Red Light Camera Activists Protest In Tinley Park


          * Governor Announces Appointments
          * Parents Encouraged to Include Emergency Preparedness in Back-to-School Plans - August is School and Campus Preparedness Month in Illinois
          * Governor Takes Bill Action
          * Safety Belt Use in Illinois Reaches 95.2 Percent - Drivers and front seat passengers are buckling up more than ever before in Illinois
          * IDOT Seeks Ownership of Arsenal Road in Will County - Walter Strawn Hearing Request Withdrawn, Work on Long-Term Solutions Continues




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller