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Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Wed Dec 10, 2003 11:46 am

Former Senator Paul Simon Dies
Blunt-Spoken Liberal Said 'Government Is Not the Enemy'

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Dec. 9) - Paul Simon, the bow-tie-wearing missionary's son who rose from crusading newspaper owner to two-term U.S. senator and presidential aspirant, died Tuesday, a day after undergoing heart surgery. He was 75.

Simon's daughter confirmed his death at St. John's Hospital in Springfield, according to Peter Alexander, the law school dean at Southern Illinois University, where Simon started a public policy institute after his retirement.

A spokeswoman at SIU also confirmed Simon's death.

Simon had a single bypass and heart valve surgery at the hospital's Prairie Heart Institute on Monday.

The Southern Illinois Democrat's political career began with his election to the state Legislature in 1954 and culminated with his election to the U.S. Senate in 1984. He retired from Congress in 1997.

Simon announced in 1987 that he was seeking the Democratic nomination for president the following year. He suspended his campaign in April 1988 after having won only his home state's primary.

''I leave the field of active campaigning with no regrets for having made the race,'' he said, ''because it has been an exhilarating experience to get to know our nation better.'' He later wrote a book about the campaign, ''Winners and Losers.''

When he announced in late 1994 that he would not seek a third term in 1996, he said: ''I have an obligation to the people of Illinois, to the Senate and to myself to leave the Senate while I am still eager to serve, not after I tire of serving.''

He said he enjoyed campaigning and making policy but not fund-raising, estimating he would have had to spend a third of his time raising money if he had decided to run in 1996.

Illinoisans elected Rep. Richard Durbin, a onetime Simon aide, to succeed Simon in the Senate.

Simon was a bespectacled, slightly rumpled man with a strong reputation for honesty, a politician who began disclosing his personal finances in the 1950s. He had the sober, straight-laced bearing of a Sunday school teacher and wrote 13 books.

Simon blended fiscal conservatism and social liberalism. Raised during the Depression, the son of a Lutheran minister, he saw the great needs facing the country and how government responded through New Deal programs.

''Government is not the enemy,'' he said in 1988. ''Government is simply a tool that can be used wisely or unwisely. ... We can do better, my friends.''

His family struggled, though not as much as others. ''I learned that you have to be careful with money,'' he said.

That explained his reputation as a ''pay-as-you-go'' Democrat who would rather raise taxes than rely on deficit financing - and why he so long championed a balanced budget amendment.

''To be a liberal doesn't mean you're a wastrel,'' said Simon, citing the words of a political mentor, Sen. Paul Douglas of Illinois.

In the Senate, Simon helped overhaul the federal student loan program to enable students and their families to borrow directly from the government.

As a crusader against television violence, Simon successfully pushed the industry to monitor the amount of violence on the screen.

Probably was too honest ever to be elected President, but he was blunt, well-spoken, and well-liked by both sides of the aisle. We need mor Paul Simon's in government service, in both parties, and it's too bad we lost the original.
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RE: Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:21 pm

One of the few good politicians from Illinois. He will be sorely missed. God bless his soul and may he rest in peace.  Sad

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RE: Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:26 pm

Senator Simon spoke on our campus less than month ago, and seemed to be a moral, courageous, and truly decent person. He had some penetrating insights on the campaign finance situation and how even the most well-intentioned politician can get sucked into "the system" by lobbyists and financiers. It's sad to hear of his passing when he was so energetic and active just a few weeks ago.

Keynes is dead and we are living in his long run.
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RE: Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Wed Dec 10, 2003 1:29 pm


I live in Carbondale where SIU is located and its a big shock around here. Many of us knew Paul personely as a friend and grandpa and person and not the guy he was known to as the nation. He dearly loved his grandchildren. I did not know him personaly but iv met him and my brother was taught by his daughter sheila I believe at sunday school class for the music. i remember seeing him go to my brothers first communion ceremony as his grandaughter was in his class. He will definelty be missed here in Carbondale.

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
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RE: Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Wed Dec 10, 2003 7:54 pm

Sad news. He was one of my favorite Senators. I had an aunt that worked on his campaign when he was first elected in 1984.
He is a dieing breed of politicians that were honest almost to a fault.
Bring back the Concorde
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RE: Former Senator Paul Simon Dead At 75

Sat Dec 13, 2003 1:05 pm

Turns out Former President Clinton is comign here to Carbondale to speak at his funeral. And so many delagtes and senators are coming here, I don;'t mean to eb rude but IM curious as to waht planes they are flying inot and which airport MDH or MWA?


RIP-Paul Simon.

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!

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