Larry McKeon


1944 – 2008


Who was Larry McKeon?

Larry McKeon was an American politician who 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 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.

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 Greg Harris.

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Jun 30, 1944
  • United States of America
May 13, 2008

on July 23, 2013


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