Former IL Congressman Railsback Dies at 88

By Benjamin Cox on January 22, 2020 at 6:25am

Thomas Railsback, the former 19th district Republican Congressman who represented portions of Western Sangamon and Southeastern portions of Greene County in the 1960s who famously called for Richard Nixon’s impeachment has died. He was 87 years old. Railsback passed away in Mesa, Arizona from natural causes, according to former Representative Ray LaHood who told the Associated Press. LaHood worked for Railsback from 1977-1982.

The old Illinois 19th Congressional District map.

The district was changed in 2013 and was last represented by John Shimkus, who eventually became the 15th District Congressman.

Railsback represented the 19th Congressional District for 16 years and was the second ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee when it was conducting the impeachment inquiry into Nixon. The inquiry was prompted by Nixon’s actions in the wake of the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at Watergate office building. Railsback was one of four Republicans and three conservative Democrats who drafted two of the three impeachment articles against Nixon, which were adopted by the House. Nixon resigned before a trial in the Senate.

Railsback credited Nixon with getting him elected to Congress in 1966 by campaigning for him in western Illinois. Railsback served in the Illinois General Assembly before defeating Democrat Gale Schisler for the seat. Railsback lost the seat in the 1982 Republican primary to State Senator Ken McMillan.