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Senator Paul Simon Federal Building

Date: March 12, 2004
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, on December 9, 2003, we lost our colleague, U.S. Senator Paul Simon, a great public servant and a great friend.

At the age of 19, Paul Simon became the nation's youngest editor-publisher when he accepted a Lion's Club challenge to save the Troy Tribune in Troy, IL. From that start, he built a chain of 13 newspapers in southern and central Illinois. He also used his post in the newspaper world to expose criminal activities and in 1951, at age 22, he was called as a key witness to testify before the U.S. Senate's Crime Investigating Committee.

Paul Simon served the state of Illinois and the United States for decades. He is the only individual to have served in both the Illinois House of Representatives and the Illinois Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. He served in the state legislature for 14 years, and won the Independent Voters of Illinois' "Best Legislator Award" every session. He also served as Lieutenant Governor for Illinois from 1968 to 1972. In addition, he served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1953.

Paul Simon highly valued education and the youth of our nation. In addition to his work in Congress to strengthen public education in America, he started the public affairs reporting program at Sangamon State University, now the University of Illinois at Springfield. He later became the founder and director of the Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, and taught there for more than 6 years. In addition, Paul Simon wrote 22 books and earned over 55 honorary degrees.

From journalism to government to education, Paul Simon set the standard for honesty and caring in public life. He was an unapologetic champion of the less fortunate. He was genuine in his politics, life and values.

Now those of us who loved and respected him will do our best to carry on his tradition. We will find many ways, great and small, to honor him.

Today, the Senate will pass companion legislation to a bill Congressman JERRY COSTELLO has introduced in the House. This legislation would designate the federal building at 250 West Cherry Street in Carbondale, Illinois as the "Senator Paul Simon Federal Building." I am happy to have Senator FITZGERALD as a cosponsor of this legislation. I thank Senators INHOFE and JEFFORDS for their timely consideration of this legislation in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Paul Simon moved to Carbondale in 1974, where he was elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He continued to call the Carbondale area his home until his death. Naming this building in Carbondale after him will help present and future generations remember and honor Paul Simon, a great man who lived in and worked for the people of Carbondale, Illinois and our Nation with the greatest integrity.