September 18, 2013

Institute will host former U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Former U.S. Senator Alan J. Dixon will share his thoughts on more than four decades in politics next week during a book signing at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Dixon, D-Illinois, will be at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute to highlight his book, “The Gentleman from Illinois.”  The event is from 4 to 6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24. Advance registration by Friday, Sept. 20, is encouraged for light refreshment considerations and seating.  To register, contact Vanessa Sneed with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at 618/453-4004 or by email at

Published by SIU Press, the book recounts Dixon’s 43-year political career as a moderate Democrat who routinely crossed party lines in his voting and views.  The 384-page book is a “great read,” said David Yepsen, Institute director, and features candid political war stories from his career going back to the start of his legislative career in 1950 as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.

Dixon’s career included serving in both the Illinois House and Senate.  He was state treasurer from 1971 to 1977, secretary of state from 1977 to 1981, and a U.S. senator from 1981 to 1993.

Dixon and Paul Simon, Institute founder and former U.S. Senator from Illinois worked together and made a good team, although they approached issues from different perspectives at times, Yepsen said.

“There has been a change in the U.S. Senate since they were there and it’s not all for the better, either,” Yepsen said.  “These two gentlemen were close friends going back to their days in the Illinois legislature. They were very different people but complimented each other.  The U.S. Senate is much more acrimonious and partisan now and it’s too bad.”

For more information on this or any other institute program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit