By Mike Lillis
Former Sen. Alan Dixon, an Illinois Democrat who served two terms in the upper chamber, died Sunday morning, according to numerous reports.
Dixon, who would have turned 87 on Monday, was the Illinois secretary of state when he was elected to the Senate in 1980.
He rose quickly, becoming the third-ranking Senate Democrat before losing his primary bid to Carol Moseley Braun while vying for a third term in 1992. Moseley Braun went on to win the seat and become the first (and only) black woman to serve in the Senate.
Dixon went on to become a partner at Bryan Cave in St. Louis, according to his congressional biography. He also headed the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission from 1994-1995.
Before coming to Capitol Hill, Dixon had a long career in Illinois state politics, serving in the House for a dozen years and the Senate for eight more before being elected state treasurer in 1970. He held that position until 1997, when he became Illinois secretary of state.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) issued a statement Sunday praising Dixon's "honesty, his hard work and his commitment to the state he loved."
“His friendships reached across the aisle and across our state," Durbin said. "I lost a pal today and Illinois lost a man who brought honor to public service.”