Former Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson III dead at 90

Adlai Stevenson III, a former US Senator who nearly became governor of Illinois, is dead at the age of 90.

FOX 32’s Political Editor Mike Flannery covered three of Stevenson’s statewide campaigns and now has a look back at his career.

Stevenson came from one of the state's oldest political families. His grandfather, Adlai Stevenson I, was Vice President of the United States in the 1890s and his father, Adlai Stevenson II, served as governor of Illinois and was twice the Democratic nominee for president in the 1950s — losing both times.

Adlai Stevenson III was a stubborn reformer.

"In the Senate, you are patient and you earn the trust and the confidence by demonstrating your wisdom, your integrity and commitment to the institution," Stevenson had said.


During his 10 years in the US Senate, Stevenson became Chairman of the Ethics Committee, a post some senators shunned because they don't want to sit in judgement of their colleagues. Stevenson embraced the role and helped write the first-ever code of ethics for the Senate.

He also campaigned, often unsuccessfully, to reform the way American political campaigns are financed, as well as the grossly political process by which party bosses in Illinois essentially pick judges.

Stevenson died Monday at his home on the North Side of Chicago. He was diagnosed several years ago with Lewy body dementia, an illness whose symptoms sometimes resemble Parkinson’s.

The family tells FOX 32 a small, private funeral is planned for this coming weekend at one of his favorite places — Jo Daviess County.