State Sen. Daniel Biss launches campaign for governor


Daily file photo by Maytham Al-Zayer

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) speaks at a town hall in January. Biss launched his campaign for Illinois governor on Monday, joining an already crowded race.

David Fishman, City Editor

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) launched his campaign for governor Monday, positioning himself as a progressive who will make Illinois a “beacon of hope” and fight the new president’s policies tooth and nail.

“We have a broken political system … but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Biss said in a Facebook Live video. “There is no force in politics more powerful than a movement of people working together in support of a common goal. That’s why in this moment we don’t only have a unique crisis, we have a unique opportunity.”

The Evanston resident has long considered a gubernatorial bid and recently ramped up his political appearances to gain recognition. In his Monday announcement — made in front of a laptop computer — Biss decried current Gov. Bruce Rauner for a historic budget impasse and promised to “take back” the state from billionaires.

Biss also said he will resist the policies of President Donald Trump, some of which have targeted residents without documentation. Answering a question posted on Facebook, Biss cited a recent conversation he’d had with concerned “DREAMers” at Evanston Township High School.

“They asked me, with tears in their eyes, how can you help?” Biss recalled. “We can resist (Trump’s) actions at every turn. Municipalities across the state should pass welcoming ordinances … but the state needs to do that too; we should pass a law to protect people from these unethical actions.”

In the Illinois legislature — where Biss has represented the northern suburbs since 2011 — the congressman has sponsored legislation to reform campaign finance, improve retirement savings plans and require presidential candidates to release their tax returns.

He has also been an outspoken critic of Rauner, a Republican who has led the state for the past two years and will seek another term. Biss blamed the current governor for the state’s budget problems, which have led to funding cuts for child care, health care and education.

“Rauner makes me crazy, Madigan annoys me, and I wouldn’t be doing things the way they are if I were them,” Biss said at a town hall last summer.

Prior to running for office, Biss earned a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught mathematics at the University of Chicago. He served in the Illinois House from 2011 to 2012 and has been in the state Senate since 2013.

Biss is the fifth Democratic candidate to publicly challenge Rauner in his re-election campaign. Other candidates include Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), businessman Chris Kennedy, Madison County schools superintendent Bob Daiber and business owner Alex Paterakis.

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