Alan Dixon was a great asset to Southwestern Illinois throughout his years in office that included two distinguished terms in the U.S. Senate. Subsequently, Dixon is remembered for the fairness and understanding he demonstrated as chairman of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in 1994-95.
Less well known, however, is the critical role Dixon played in our region's successful mobilization during the 2005 BRAC process, after his return to private practice. That BRAC round -- which resulted in 25 major military installations being closed and another 24 radically realigned -- posed a very real threat to Scott Air Force Base.
As we've done this past year, the task force, led by St. Clair County, Madison County and the Leadership Council, determined to meet the 2005 BRAC challenge head-on. And to our good fortune, Dixon served as a consultant to guide our efforts through to a successful outcome. His leadership and relationships, particularly with U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, provided a unique combination of knowledge, access and expertise. Dixon displayed his characteristic enthusiasm for the job at hand, but was motivated most of all by his love of his own hometown and region.
Contrary to early predictions, the 2005 BRAC brought positive change for Scott, with additional missions contributing to Scott's more than $3.1 billion regional economic impact. This success is attributable in no small part to Dixon's strategic counsel for the Leadership Council's efforts -- and rightly should stand as part of the lasting legacy of "The Gentleman from Illinois."
Executive Director, Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois