Two famous former Illinois State senators are Paul Simon, a one-time Democratic presidential candidate, and President Barack Obama. Simon served in the State Senate in the 1980s, while Obama served in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Simon served two terms as a state senator before going on to serve five terms in Congress. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1988 under the campaign slogan, "Isn't it time to believe again?" He retired from politics in 1996 and died in 2003 at the age of 75. He is remembered for his advocacy of public solutions to social problems and called for taxing the wealthy to pay for government programs. He was known to the public for regularly wearing a bow tie.
Voters elected Obama to the Illinois State Senate in 1996 after he worked for several years in Chicago's South Side to help the community rebound from steel mill closures. During his time as a state senator, he led to the passage of historical ethics reforms, cut working families' taxes and expanded state health care coverage to more families with children. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and to the presidency in 2008.