PSPPI - Dick Simpson

January 31, 2024

SIU’s Paul Simon Institute to host Chicago political expert, author Dick Simpson

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Dick Simpson, a former Chicago alderman, campaign strategist and author, will join Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute on Tuesday, Feb. 6, for a virtual conversation on his two latest books that look at Chicago politics.

Simpson and John Shaw, institute director, will discuss his 2022 book, “Democracy’s Rebirth: The View from Chicago” and his January 2024 book, “Chicago’s Modern Mayors: From Harold Washington to Lori Lightfoot.”

The virtual discussion via Zoom is at 10 a.m. The online program is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The conversation is part of the institute’s Illinois Authors series of discussions with the writers who bring the Prairie State to life. Visit to register.

“Few people have had the range and depth of political experiences as Dick Simpson,” Shaw said. “His important books of political history and analysis have been shaped by serious academic study and decades of real-world experience in the political arena. We are eager to learn how Illinois and Chicago politics and government have changed over the decades. We are also eager to hear his message to students who want to enter the political arena.”

Known as a political progressive, Simpson has more than 50 years’ involvement with Chicago politics, including serving as alderman from 1971 to 1979. He taught political science at the University of Illinois Chicago for more than 50 years before retiring as professor emeritus in 2022.

Simpson’s start as a campaign strategist and adviser began in 1968 when he first became a congressional district campaign manager and later statewide campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy. He also served on political transition teams, including those for former Chicago mayors Jane Byrne and Harold Washington. He twice ran for Congress in the early 1990s.

Simpson is the author or co-author of more than 20 books and more than 200 articles, opinion pieces and documentary films.

Simpson earned his doctorate in political science from Indiana University Bloomington and his bachelor’s degree in political science and government from the University of Texas at Austin.

Attendees are encouraged to submit questions for Simpson on the registration form or email questions to

More information, a list of the institute’s upcoming events and past speakers and events are available.