Capitol Fax.com - Your Illinois News Radar » I get letters
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.


* The updated legislative retirement list
* Question of the day
* Today's quotable
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Campaign news; Supplement to today's edition; More candidate announcements
* Poll: 66 percent of Chicagoans think the city is on the wrong track
* Our new and unbalanced budget
* Proft calls HB40 "integrity test" for Rauner
* There will be no kid glove treatment for Drury now
* Madigan denies "reports" that Rauner has asked him for budget meetings
* Catholic group warns Rauner against signing "electoral suicide note"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Nekritz out, Raoul backed by Cullerton as unknowns ask "Why not me?"
* We need a capital bill, but don't hold your breath
* Biss starting to get questions about his voting history
* SEIU derides "3 strikes" rule, Rauner admin defends
* Preckwinkle tries again to defend pop tax
* *** UPDATED x4 - DGA, Pritzker, Pawar, Biss respond *** Rauner speaks out on NFL protests
* *** UPDATED x6 *** Harmon will lift the hold on HB40
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax
* Personal PAC planning newspaper ad claiming Gov. Rauner and First Lady "lied"
* Yesterday's stories

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

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

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

...............
<


Loading


* Illinois governor 'strongly disagrees' with ant.....
* Editorial: Users deserve to know who's 'followi.....
* Illinois Governor Responds To NFL Protests - KT.....
* LISTEN LIVE NOW! - KTRS | St Louis News and Tal.....
* Gov. Rauner Says Anthem Protests Are Insulting .....
* State Democrats, frustrated with Rauner's indec.....


* EXCHANGE: Corn, tomatoes just the beginning for gardener
* Full federal court to hear 'Making a Murderer' appeal
* Chicago archdiocese to focus on domestic violence in Mass
* Morris VFW finally awards jackpot after raffle was delayed
* Indiana governor seeks federal funding for railroad project
* Illinois governor 'strongly disagrees' with anthem protests
* 5 ex-managers of Bloomington arena indicted on 111 counts
* Violence in US rises for second straight year
* Patients in Illinois get legal help for non-medical issues
* FBI reveals sketch of person of interest in post office bomb

* Rauner says anthem protests disrespectful
* Abortion rights bill sent to Rauner
* Abortion rights bill on way to Rauner
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* Public invited to vote on Main Street preservation projects
* Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
* Abortion bill is hot potato for Gov. Rauner
* New Illinois law will let adults earn high school diplomas
* Raoul enters AG race, apologizes for 'Miss America' comment
* AG candidate Raoul apologizes for 'bad characterization' of opponent

* Trust in health insurers sinks to an all-time low
* O'Hare is the nation's best for connections
* Target is smart to raise its minimum wage
* Steeler who stood for anthem now has best-selling NFL jersey
* WTTW/WFMT announce $65 million fundraising campaign


* Police: Man killed in West Englewood shooting
* Police: Man killed in Gresham crash after fleeing traffic stop
* Woman shot, critically wounded in Back of the Yards
* 9 shot, 2 fatally, in Monday gun violence in Chicago
* Man found shot in East Garfield Park
* Full federal court to hear ‘Making a Murderer’ appeal
* Man hurt in Lawndale shooting
* Georgia Nicols horoscopes for Sept. 26, 2017
* Dear Abby: Now sober, he longs for wife’s return
* 3 robberies reported last week on South, Southwest sides


* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 9/26/17
* In the first 'Opposition' episode, Jordan Klepper feels shadow of 'Colbert'
* As Ivanka Trump's political influence grows, so does secrecy surrounding her fashion brand's business ties in China
* Javier Baez escapes with bruise after fouling ball off leg
* Cubs fun includes eliminating Cardinals, winning over Nacho Man
* Cubs one step from NL Central title, eliminate Cardinals from division race
* White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia on breakout year: 'I proved it to myself'
* Chicago gets pre-Broadway tryout for ‘Pretty Woman’ musical
* Tennessee church shooting suspect had previous run-ins with police
* Cubs 10, Cardinals 2


» College Diploma Out-Of-Reach For Growing Number Of Low-Income Illinois Students
» Violence In US Rises For Second Straight Year
» In Major Reversal, Cook County Prosecutors Agree To Reduce Sentence Of Addolfo Davis
» Abortion Legislation Puts Gov. Rauner On Election Bind
» Abortion Legislation Puts Gov. Rauner In Political Bind
» State Week: IL Attorney General Candidates, The Soda Tax, and Courting Amazon
» State Week: IL Attorney General Candidates, The Soda Tax and Courting Amazon
» Governor Running Out Of Time On Location Tracking Regulation
» In Cook County, 3 Prosecutors Are Handling Hundreds Of Wrongful Conviction Claims
» An Accounting For Meteorological Violence Among Insurers


* Marc Thiessen: Trump's UN speech promoted classic conservative ideas
* Rauner says anthem protests disrespectful
* Abortion rights bill sent to Rauner
* Abortion rights bill on way to Rauner
* Ex-congressman Mel Reynolds' tax trial to start Monday
* Public invited to vote on Main Street preservation projects
* George Will: America's engine is being slowed by complacency
* Scramble begins in Illinois attorney general race
* Statehouse Insider: Illinois finances not the worst? Believe it or not.
* Angie Muhs: New content coming to Sunday SJ-R


* Photo: Long ride down
* Violence rises for second straight year
* Editorial: Users deserve to know who’s ‘following’ them online
* Commentary: The aftermath of tough talk
* Commentary: The health of the Senate
* Grant provides laptops, drone for A-C Central
* 4-H’ers add hall of fame status
* Rivermont adds Rowing Academy
* Henry Mitchell
* Sandra Ross


* Cowboys kneel before national anthem against Arizona
* Villas-Boas fined for insulting Asian Champs League referee
* China postpones food import controls after global outcry
* Trump looms large in Alabama Senate race
* As senators defect, GOP concedes health bill's fate bleak

* Rep. Randy Hultgren announces 2017 Congres...
* Congressman Randy Hultgren Visits Raue Cen...
* Hultgren pushes for CHIP funding ahead of ...
* Indivisible billboard targets Hultgren, Ro...
* Nick in the AM: Bartonville native plans t...
* Hultgren Comments on CAT Closure, Hurrican...
* Montgomery mayor hosts health care forum a...
* Naperville's Lauren Underwood to run for R...
* What suburban members of Congress say abou...
* Hultgren pleads for continued funding of f...

* Senator Durbin Discusses Latest Disastrous......
* GUEST COLUMN: 'Fess up, Dick and Dianne; t......
* Dems' religious concerns hypocritical, but......

* Senator Duckworth Statement in Opposition ......

* Battle Of The Sexes - Then And Now
* Marking the purchase of a new iPhone
* EXTRA: Whole world was watching
* 9th ward meeting with Ald. Beale on Tuesday
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Concerned Bloomington citizen files FOIAs on city-owned stadium, results led to 111 indictments
* The [Thursday] Papers
* How flood insurance works, and how it ought to work
* Appeals court requires Texas cities co-op with immigration officials; Illinois bans same
* The premiere of The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week


* Illinois Awarded Funds to Offer Advanced Training on Detecting Impaired Driving
* Illinois EPA Announces Upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Collection Events
* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

  
* Fairphone takes $7.7M to push for change across the electronics value chain
* Gionee M7 costs $420 in China with FullView display, dual cameras and 4000mAh battery
* Transit raises another $5M from Accel to become a hub for public transportation
* Apple reportedly spends more on iPhone 8 Plus manufacturing than 7 Plus, profit margins still hefty
* iOS and macOS Spotlight web search preferences move from Bing to Google
* HP Elite x3 to remain on sale “through 2019”
* Sprint hires lobbying firm with strong support for Trump as T-Mobile deal nears

* Sox Century: Sept. 25, 1917
* Shields fires gem as White Sox play spoiler role
* Veteran Volstad gets spot start vs. Angels
* Brantly family shares special moment with Sox
* White Sox 4, Angels 2: Shields stellar seven innings holds off LA
* White Sox 4, Angels 2: Shields’ stellar seven innings holds off LA
* Shields K's 8 as White Sox play spoiler role


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

Archives
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
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




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