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Larry McKeon
(June 30, 1944 - May 13, 2008) USA

Larry McKeon

Politician

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Larry McKeon served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from Chicago. Serving from January 1997 to January 2007, he was the first-ever openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly and was also HIV-positive. McKeon was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1997.

He held degrees from California State University at Los Angeles and completed some doctoral work at the University of Chicago. A veteran of the United States Army, McKeon had been a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department before moving to Chicago.

McKeon was elected to the House in 1996 from a Chicago district then-numbered the 34th and was sworn in the following January. He served on the committees on Labor, Aging, and several other subjects. During the 2002 redistricting, his district became the 13th.

In July 2006, he announced his intention to retire from the legislature at the end of his term in January 2007. As he had already won the March 2006 Democratic primary election without opposition and thus had become the party's nominee for re-election, it fell to the five Democratic ward committeemen in his district to select a replacement nominee, who would run with no Republican opponent in the November 2006 general election. They selected the openly gay (and openly HIV-positive) Greg Harris. Many of McKeon's campaigns won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

In 1991 his longtime partner, Ray Korzinski, was diagnosed with AIDS, dying just 12 weeks later. McKeon died at the age of 63 in Springfield, Illinois, after suffering a stroke. Following his death, numerous political figures issued statements praising his life and achievements, including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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