Simon, Paul, (1928-2003) | Southern Illinois University Special Collections Research Center
Name: Simon, Paul, (1928-2003)
Historical Note: Journalist and Democratic politician from Illinois, Paul M. Simon was born on November 29, 1928 in Eugene Oregon to Martin and Ruth Simon. He graduated from Eugene High School and attended Dana College in Nebraska. He left Dana at age 19 to take over as publisher and editor of the failing weekly Troy Tribune newspaper in Troy, Illinois. He would eventually own several small papers in Illinois. As editor of the Troy Tribune, Simon made a name for himself by exposing illegal gambling operations in Madison County, Illinois. After serving in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1951-1953, Simon ran for state representative from the Illinois 53rd district, becoming the youngest legislator in the state at age 25. While in the General Assembly he met his future wife, Jeanne Hurley, a representative from Winnetka, Illinois. They were married in 1960 and had two children, Sheila and Martin. In 1964, Paul was elected state senator from the 53rd district. In 1969 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. He won even though his Democratic running mate lost. In 1972 he lost the Democratic primary for governor. From 1972 to 1974 he taught at Sagamon State University in Springfield, Illinois and one semester at the John F. Kennedy Public Policy Institute at Harvard. In 1974 he moved to Carbondale, Illinois and sought and won the U. S. congressional seat of the retiring Kenneth J. Gray. After serving in the U. S. House of Representative for ten years, he upset incumbent Senator Charles Percy to enter the U.S. Senate. In 1987-1988 he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination. He retired from the Senate in 1997. In 1997 he founded a Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, which he headed until his death on December 8, 2003.