Paul Martin Simon (November 29, 1928 - December 9, 2003) was an American politician from Illinois. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1974 to 1985 and United States Senate from 1985 to 1997. He was a member of the Democratic Party. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988. He later served as director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University starting in 1997.
He was known as a crusading liberal with a distinctive appearance that included wearing a bow-tie and heavy-rimmed glasses.
Simon, the son of a Lutheran minister, was born in Eugene, Oregon and attended the University of Oregon and Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He worked as a newspaper editor and publisher in Troy, Illinois, eventually building a chain of fourteen weeklies. He served in the United States Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953. Upon his discharge, he began his political career, serving in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1955 to 1963 and in the Illinois State Senate from 1963 to 1968. He was elected lieutenant governor of Illinois in 1968 and served from 1969 to 1973. His 1972 campaign to win the Democratic nomination for governor was upset by Dan Walker.
He then became a professor at Sangamon State University in Springfield, Illinois in 1973 and then at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1973. He resumed his political career and was elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fourth Congress in 1974 and was reelected to the four succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1975-January 3, 1985). He then ran and was elected to the United States Senate in 1984 and was reelected in 1990. After his retirement from politics, he continued to play a role in public life through the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute and as an author. His last book, Our Culture of Pandering, was published in October 2003.
Afterfive miscarriages, the Simon family adopted their son Martin.
Simon died in Springfield, Illinois following heart surgery at the age of 75. Just four days before, despite being hospitalized and awaiting surgery, he had endorsed Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid in a telephone conference call he conducted from his hospital bed.