Belleville, Illinois and the entire country lost a great friend with the passing of former Sen. Alan Dixon. As a native and a longtime resident of the metro-east, I was aware of the senator's great work for our community and our state long before I had the opportunity to meet him. When I did, we forged an immediate and long-lasting relationship.
In 1997, I asked the senator to join my company's advisory board. Although his post-political career was always hectic, he gracefully accepted my invitation and immediately went to work helping me better understand and work with the federal government and its people. Alan's advice was always on the mark.
Since then, I came to understand that few knew the ins and outs of how our government works better than Dixon. I came to understand his philosophy of pursuing compromise across the political aisles, his undying support for colleges and universities in Illinois and his dedication to small business owners like me. And no one told more interesting, insightful -- and sometimes wildly entertaining stories -- about what he witnessed in his long career in public service. I especially admired and envied his incredible memory and knowledge of people, history and politics. You could always learn something from Alan.
Most importantly, Alan was a good person, who genuinely cared about his family, his friends and the people he served.
Many people called him Al the Pal. I am proud to have called him my mentor and my very good friend. May he rest in peace. We will miss him.
CEO, Allsup Belleville