SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
I get letters

Monday, Jul 14, 2014

* From a reader…

Considering that I depend on you being the most reliable and dependable source for anything political in Illinois, I seldom have reason to criticize your blog ( often I find the comments as interesting and telling as the article itself ), however, I must comment on an omission.

Southern Illinois has lost two giants in the past days - Al “The Pal” Dixon and Ken “Pass the Pork” Gray. I’m 65 years old and knew both men, albeit not as well as the late Paul Simon ( he and my parents grew up together ). I believe I remember seeing mention of Dixon’s death and some tributes, but have seen nothing yet about Ken Gray. Love him or hate him he was a unique, genuine, flamboyant and passionate individual who did much for his constituents and his district. I’m certain that many will have pointed and interesting comments about his years in congress and his contribution to my part of the State.

Thank you.

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


34 Comments
  1. - Ray del Camino - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    If it weren’t for Kenny Gray, and then Jerry Costello, there’d hardly be any pavement in Southern Illinois. “Pork” is how poor areas get a piece of the pie. God bless Kenny Gray, and godspeed sen. Dixon.


  2. - Tommydanger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    As for Alan Dixon, I have seen many a Democrat stump speech in my day and Dixon’s was among the best. When he finished you wanted to go right out and start knocking on doors. Like too many other things these days, they just don’t make em like that anymore. Rest in peace Senator Dixon.


  3. - Chi - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    I’d never heard of Ken Gray, but a quick perusal of his Wikipedia page makes me think I missed out on knowing quite a character. Godspeed.


  4. - Wumpus - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 2:58 pm:

    With those nicknames, they must have been something special.


  5. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:03 pm:

    I don’t like butt-kissers, but I fully agree with this gentleman’s first paragraph. By the way, I’m referring to my butt-kissing here, not the gentleman’s. You are the best, fairest, smartest political observer in the blog world. I don’t drink but if I did right about now I’d be mentioning where I just happen to do my drinking. Free is always best, don’t you think?


  6. - Nieva - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:04 pm:

    Grey was good for the south but he was also good for himself. Grey Plaza Motels up and down I57.


  7. - Old Shepherd - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    For those of us who grew up in Southern Illinois, Ken Grey was a true legend. With his showmanship, flamboyant dress and hair, and unique style, he was a true celebrity. Love him or hate him, one cannot argue with the results of his efforts. One also cannot argue that he walked among giants such as Kennedy and Johnson. He is part of a bygone era, and we in Southern Illinois are grateful for the life he led and what he was able to do for us.


  8. - The Prince - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:10 pm:

    I was wondering why Ken Gray’s death did not lead off this morning (or even appear over the weekend.)


  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:14 pm:

    Dixon did have a whale of a stump speech. You could tell he really loved politics, and you never really heard a bad word about him until Al Hofeld came around.

    Didn’t Kenny Gray pop up recently saying that JFK wanted him to run for president in ‘68? Wonder if LBJ and Bobby knew.


  10. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    ===Didn’t Kenny Gray pop up recently saying that JFK wanted him to run for president in ‘68?===

    No, I’m pretty sure that was Phil Spector.


  11. - Under Further Review - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:26 pm:

    Al Dixon was a centrist. If there were more candidates like him, the partisan divide would be much less hostile. I am afraid that Dixon would not be acceptable to many of the Democratic Party leaders today.


  12. - Jak Tichenor - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:34 pm:

    Ken Gray earned the title the “Prince of Pork” by managing to get seven billion dollars worth of federal public works projects located in his Southern Illinois Congressional District in 24-years on Capitol Hill. He said “if building housing, if building roads, if building schools and post offices, and bringing back some of the tax money you sent to Washington is pork, then pass me the plate.”

    I once ran into him by chance on the Mall in Washington one Saturday afternoon. He was wearing white shoes, white pants, a white shirt, and a white Skoal Bandit sun visor. He never missed a beat and said “Hello, Tiger” which is how he greeted any male reporter who covered his beat. Covering his political events was like covering a tent tent rival…all that was lacking was the altar call. Rest in Peace, Congressman. You were one of a kind.


  13. - downstate demo - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:36 pm:

    Dixon was a real political person who could communicate with anyone. A real gentleman.
    Ken Gray was gospel singing, true southern pol like Huey Long.One wonders where Kenny came up with story about replacing JFK in 1968. Southern Illinois loved Kenny. One has to believe that Alan Dixon was the best at what he did best being Al the Pal.


  14. - SilverStreak - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Ken Gray didn’t know me from Adam in 1963. I was a college kid walking the halls of Congress (which we could do those days)looking for a summer job in Washington. I wasn’t a constituent or a donor, just a kid from rural Illinois. He saw me in the hall, and said Hey, who are you and where are you from? He invited me into his office, picked up a phone, put it down and said go see Mr. X at the Dept. of Y right now. And, I had a good and substantive job, with a real paycheck, for one of the most memorable summers Washington has ever seen. Ken Gray was a kind and generous man.


  15. - Steve Brown - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Both men were legendary. I recall a Ken Gray’s TV commercial from the ’70s when I was at SIU. He had a map of his district with lites that went on for each project during his tenure. Map looked like Christmas when he was done.
    I covered Senator Dixon and sought his advice after I went to work for the city and state. Always solid thinking. Always top notch staff.
    Had he pushed back against Richard J. he would have beat JRT. That probably meant no Edgar either. Had he mended fences a little after Clarence Thomas he would have been reelected.
    He did what he thought was right. Even if you disagreed you could not question Alan’s reasoning.
    The number of folks he helped could be a million + . I am happy to have known Alan. I am sure his family will always cherish his work for so many.


  16. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    –Had he pushed back against Richard J. he would have beat JRT. That probably meant no Edgar either. Had he mended fences a little after Clarence Thomas he would have been reelected.–

    Steve, those are interesting “what ifs.”

    I used to have a “Dixon for Governor” button somewhere. He was ready to go in ‘76 — and Daley was gone before the year was out.

    He could have walked on the Thomas vote, too. It wasn’t needed. The Bush political crew should have released him from his pledge.


  17. - Anon - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    Today’s holier-than-thou reporters, who use such a flexible definition of corruption, disapprove of pols who do favors and who bring home the pork. This inability to distinguish criminal corruption from politics as usual is a reason the public is so cynical about politicians in general.


  18. - Fan of Cap Fax - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    There was nothing like seeing Ken Gray in his golf cart riding around the DuQuoin State Fair. He knew everyone and everyone wanted to shake his hand. What a guy! I was fortunate enough to visit his place in Florida, right after I moved to Atlanta, GA. Before I left he picked up the phone and called Mayor Andrew Young and told him to make sure Atlanta treated me right. And it did. Heaven must be hopping since Ken got there! There’ll never be another Ken Gray!


  19. - ??? - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:10 pm:

    SilverStreak, that’s a great story!


  20. - Arizona Bob - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Both men will be sorely missed. With those two politicking for us up in heaven, look for cooler summers and warmer winters.

    If, by some chance, they wound up in those infernal furnaces down below, look for a deal between the Devil and the Southern Illinois coal producers to keep those furnaces stoked!LOL


  21. - Joe Schmoe - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:42 pm:

    As a reporter in the 70’s and early 80’s Kenny Gray and Al Dixon were always guaranteed to be great interviews. I respected both of them for what they stood for. Like others have said, they weren’t homogenized like today’s politicians but they sure came through for their constituents.


  22. - steve schnorf - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 4:58 pm:

    Anon 3:56–Well said!


  23. - Under Further Review - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:05 pm:

    Al Hofeld demolished Dixon in the weeks leading up to the primary and Carol Moseley Braun wound up with the nomination by a plurality. Hofeld finished third.

    Carol Moseley Braun was one and done as a US Senator. I cannot think of anything significant connected with her one term.

    Illinois lost big time when Dixon left office.


  24. - justbabs - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:05 pm:

    When I met Kenny Gray in the 80’s, he introduced himself to me as the “Prince of Pork.” No one else looked like him or dressed like him in DC. You could always pick him out of a crowd, but he usually picked you out first. He was an original.


  25. - Under Further Review - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:14 pm:

    Southern Illinois must have had a powerful one, two punch when both Mel Price and Ken Gray were in office. Price had a reputation for bringing home big dollars to his district also.


  26. - Jim Muir - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:19 pm:

    I grew up hearing stories about Kenny Gray and all he did for Southern Illinois. A couple of true stories are worth repeating. A young man was thinking about running for office and sought Gray’s advice. Gray told him he thought he would be great for the office he was seeking. Gray ended the conversation by telling the young man: ‘I hope you win … and I can be for you or against you … whichever one will help you the most.’ Another time he offered this sage advice to a young man running for office: ‘When you’re campaigning the only person you can believe for sure is the guy who looks you square in the eye and says ‘hell no I won’t vote for you.’ He was a true legend in Southern Illinois. RIP Congressman Gray.


  27. - Fayette County - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:35 pm:

    Ken Gray was the first Congressman I was able to vote for in the early 80s. I remember my dad telling me to be sure and vote for the Prince of Pork so Southern Illinois would get something back from DC. I met him once and he made an impression that definitely stayed with me. Dixon was always one of my favorite politicians. A middle of the road guy who was quite a speaker on the stump. It was a loss to not just Illinois but the country when he lost the Senate race. More men and women like him in Congress today would benefit all of us rather we are Democrats or Republicans.


  28. - x ace - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 6:06 pm:

    Upon being introduced , I said : ” It’s a pleasure to meet the Legendary Kenny Gray”

    He laughed and said : “Yeah, I started the Legend Stuff Myself”


  29. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:02 pm:

    Kenny once gave me a private tour of the Capitol Building. He told me several stories that I’m sure weren’t on the official tour. He was one of a kind and relentless booster of his district.

    I wish we had a few Dixons in the Senate now. He perfected the art of governing by cooperation and compromise.

    I enjoyed covering and knowing them both.


  30. - Johninchicago - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:16 pm:

    Senator Dixon was a true statesman and a gentleman. Sadly we don’t seem to have men like him in govermenmt anymore.


  31. - WootBaseball - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 12:53 am:

    Dr. Goodwin, you were great on Password with Allen Ludden.


  32. - vole - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:52 am:

    The Kaskaskia barge canal, one of Gray’s accomplishments, remains one of IL’ greatest ecological catastrophes.


  33. - kimocat - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 9:35 am:

    I had dealings with Ken Gray on a number of occasions. In addition to his “pork loving activities”, he also “expressed” a fondness for the ladies that would be interpreted today as exceeding appropriate behavior. And there was no shortage of cleavage in his D.C. office.


  34. - Northern Light - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 1:25 am:

    Kenny Gray was one of a kind. He was great for southern Illinois and a character like Huey Long. I had braces on my teeth and he was flirting with me upon meeting me while I was at SIU Carbondale. I will never forget him telling me that “he saw lightening bolts coming off my braces” (I was so hot). I just laughed…who couldn’t? He was a TRIP. Rest in peace good gent.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Raters react to pension ruling
* Caption contest!
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Good news and bad news
* What's Madigan's agenda?
* Today's quotable
* Chicago filing deadline roundup
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Question of the day
* 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

          
        * Ninjas racing in costume and with weapons in Ninjump Dash
        * New Yonomi app announced at DEMO Fall 2014
        * Google may lose its supremacy as Safari’s default search engine
        * Samsung getting sued over the name “Milk”
        * GoGlove wearable remote controls your phone
        * Mac Gems: Calcbot syncs your calculation history between Mac and iOS
        * Worldwide tablet growth slows as iPad sees its first year of decline

        * Luxury Watchmakers Crack Down on Copycat Android Wear Watch Faces
        * Five Terabytes of External Storage for $130
        * The Open, Communal Office Behind the Movember Movement
        * Mozilla’s Firefox To Get One-Click Search Buttons In Upcoming Build
        * Windows 10 To Get FLAC Support, Audiophiles Rejoice
        * Skype For Android Smartphones Updated With Picture-In-Picture Functionality
        * Microsoft Explains Why The Xbox One Is Sized The Way It Is

        * White Sox plan for contention a work in progress
        * White Sox officially announce LaRoche deal
        * Red Sox seize offseason driver's seat with signings
        * White Sox officially announce LaRoche deal
        * White Sox land LaRoche with two-year deal
        * Family adversity didn't deter prospect Danish
        * Zach Duke and Adam LaRoche are steps in the right direction

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


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

        Archives
        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


        * Obama tackles Immigration, Ferguson..
        * SIU Plans for Possible State Budget Cuts..
        * Obama visits Chicago to tout immigration action.....
        * Obama aims to rally support for immigration pla.....
        * Pres. Obama in Chicago to talk immigration poli.....


        * Ferguson protesters leave Chicago mayor's office
        * Trial set for Chicago man accused of killing son
        * Washington still focused on tornado recovery
        * 2 credit houses take no major action on Illinois
        * Illinois man pleads guilty in child porn case
        * Police across US prepare for more Ferguson rallies
        * Illinois farmers winding down harvest
        * Illinois suspends Ebola hotline as interest fades
        * Obama awards Illinois' Mikva the Medal of Freedom
        * Protests in Chicago, Peoria after Ferguson

        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Rauner tackles transition agenda
        * Attorney general warns of immigration scams
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court next
        * State to refund $60 million in retiree health care money
        * State pension changes ruled unconstitutional; appeal to Illinois Supreme Court likely
        * Illinois pension case likely headed to high court
        * Judge: Pension ruling to come Friday
        * Rauner mum on fixes for ‘dire’ state finances, wants Quinn to freeze hiring

        * Obama's remarks about Ferguson
        * Obama: Destruction of property after Ferguson ruling is criminal act
        * Mathematica's Wolfram wins fraud case
        * Judge: Don't rip up Lucas Museum site overnight
        * Will Obama pick a woman to lead the Pentagon?


        * Finding food for hope in Ferguson
        * City needs to put its house in order in protecting tenants
        * Emanuel, Claypool heap each other with praise at City Club
        * Nothing but good vibes between Rahm, Claypool a year after Ventra
        * WATCH LIVE: Obama speaks on immigration, Ferguson in Chicago
        * WATCH LIVE: Obama speaks on immigration, Ferguson in Chicago
        * Deja who? Some names in next year's ward races could ring a bell
        * Obama expected to comment on Ferguson in Chicago
        * Contract approved to build arena/hotel near McCormick Place
        * Judge orders city to leave proposed Lucas Museum site unaltered


        * City Hall sit-in morphs into march along Michigan Avenue
        * FAA studying military-style air-traffic backup system, Sen. Kirk says
        * Bartlett man says at sentencing hearing he shot at car to protect family
        * Obama visits Chicago to tout immigration action, cites Ferguson controversy
        * Metra trains stopped in Aurora because of suspicious package
        * DuPage Co. OKs budget that reduces spending
        * FBI: Man robs 4th South Side bank
        * Man guilty of running pot scheme that authorities say was family affair
        * Release denied for man who took police on wild chase through Lake Co.
        * Board that oversees Illinois bar exam OKs breaks for nursing mother


        * Pension Ruling "Credit Negative," But No Ratings Change
        * Phoenix Center Strives To Connect With Transgender Community
        * Tim Landis: Foreclosure Sales, CIPS Icehouse and Heritage River Trail
        * Part Timers & Manufacturing in Illinois Feeling a Slow Economic Recovery
        * Notes From Ferguson: A QA With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Notes From Ferguson: Q & A With St. Louis Public Radio's Rachel Lippmann
        * Disbelief in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Disbelief by some in Hammond after accused cops are reinstated
        * Editor's Note: Tax And Pension Fix Won’t End Illinois’ Budget Crisis
        * Grand jury: No indictment for Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson


        * Debt rating agencies weigh in on state pension ruling
        * Our Opinion: Another big weekend for football fans
        * Mary Auchstetter: The true story of Grain Belt Express
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 25, 2014
        * Lisa Madigan to ask Illinois Supreme Court to consider pensions
        * Quote of the Day: Nov. 24, 2014
        * Our Opinion: Illiana project too risky for tapped-out Illinois
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Sen. Manar backs aide Watson over Cahnman, Proctor in Ward 5
        * Karen Cox: Shop for a cause
        * Andy Shaw: Protect Illinois’ FOIA law from unnecessary tinkering


        * Walking with the protesters: Anger spills out
        * Davenport resident returns home to Ferguson, helps cleanup efforts
        * Historical society to host annual meeting
        * Andrew Acklin Jr.
        * SportsTalk 11-25-14
        * Sears space to be demolished at Market Place
        * Illinois panel approves state's part of Rock Island Clean line project
        * Brown family blasts prosecutor's handling of case
        * Shawnee College presents 'And Baby Makes Three'
        * Shop small in Tipton


        * Ferguson protesters rally across US for second day
        * Grand jury focused on key fatal Ferguson ‘tussle'
        * Streamwood students celebrate Thanksgiving their way
        * Brown family blasts prosecutor; Wilson speaks
        * A way for GOP to defuse immigration issue?

        * Reps Gabbard, Schock Introduce Resolution ...
        * Aaron Schock really likes music awards sho...
        * GOP lawmaker: Obama has 'gone rogue' - The...
        * Clinton: Obama immigration effort 'histori...
        * There must be 94 ways to fix the budget, p...
        * Hennepin Steel Mill finally sold - SteelGuru
        * GOP rep: Immigration need 'doesn't justify...
        * Aaron Schock: Obama executive action 'atte...
        * I Think Hillary Clinton Is Running: Strick...
        * Hennepin steel mill sold - Bureau County R...

        * Durbin, Reed Lead 40 U.S. Senators In Back......
        * US Senate to hold civil rights hearing aft......
        * Durbin to hold human rights hearing on Fer......

        * FAA studying military-style air-traffic ba......
        * Sen. Mark Kirk: 'We're Getting Played' in ......

        * The Plot to Burn Chicago
        * How the Civil War Created Thanksgiving
        * Supreme Court fills two vacancies in 1st Subcircuit
        * My experience at the DMV
        * REMINDER: Methadone clinic protest on 79th street
        * IAR Government Affairs monitors veto session
        * CAR gives 49 reasons to help homeless children and moms
        * Indianapolis Star deems Gary Varvel's Thanksgiving cartoon "racist"
        * Durbin to hold hearing on law enforcement militarization and voting rights
        * Illinois Attorney General Seeks Expedited Appeal of Pension Reform Case


        * Governor Quinn Statement on Abner Mikva Receiving Nation’s Highest Civilian Honor
        * Department of Insurance Announces Multi-State Settlement with Symetra Life Insurance and Symetra National Life Insurance Company - Illinois will share part of a $1.2 million penalty against Symetra Life regarding Life Insurance policies
        * Avoid Foodborne Illness This Holiday Season
        * Dept on Aging Observes Family Caregivers Awareness Month by Reminding about Resources to Assist - Administers the Family Caregiver Support Program
        * State Seeks Public Input on Strategy to Reduce Phosphorous and Nitrogen Pollution in Mississippi River Basin - Draft Strategy Aims to Have Agricultural and Municipal Interests Work Together to Improve Water Quality




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