Former U.S. Senator Alan Dixon died Sunday, just shy of his 87th birthday. His political career ended in 1992 when he lost a Democratic primary to Carol Moseley Braun.
In an interview recorded a couple of years ago, Dixon says a neighbor, who was the Democratic Party Chairman of Belleville, took him under his wing. He helped Dixon land his first elected office, as the local police magistrate.
From there, Dixon didn't stop, for decades.
He became a member of the Illinois House in 1950, at the age of 23, moved on to the state Senate, and served terms as Illinois' Treasurer and Secretary of State, before moving on to the U.S. Senate.
Dixon recounted his career in that interview with the Illinois Channel:
"I ended up doing 42-and-a-half years in continuous elected public office, and frankly led the ticket most times."
In a statement, House Speaker Michael Madigan says Dixon was "one of a kind."
And U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, said that "but for his leadership, Illinois would have lost Scott Air Force Base - the largest employer south of I-80."