Daniel Biss storms campus with his progressive campaign


Vandy Manyeh

Daniel Biss, a candidate for governor in the Democratic Party’s primary

Vandy Manyeh, News Editor

He wants free education at in-state public universities, community colleges and trade schools.

In the race to represent the Democratic Party in Illinois’ upcoming governor election, he’s a candidate garnering votes on a progressive agenda.

That’s Daniel Biss, a Harvard-educated mathematician who believes Illinois has what it takes to cater to the needs of thousands of students struggling to pay for college.

“I am the progressive candidate in the race; I’m the candidate who supports free college education,” Biss said. “For a generation that’s coming into an economy that’s not been fundamentally on our side, the question I would like to ask is: which of the candidates is prepared to fix it?”

Biss spoke to the Courier during a campaign tabling event at College of DuPage (COD) on Jan. 24. Biss is, so far, the only gubernatorial candidate to visit COD in an effort to reach its student population.

Although COD’s tuition rates have been stable, students aren’t transferring to in-state public universities to avoid high tuition and fees. In-state universities that usually attract students are faced with a decline in enrollment.

“This is a problem for the state,” said James Bente, vice president planning and institutional effectiveness, during a recent enrollment update.

According to the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education, Illinois had the highest net migration of college freshmen to other state’s public schools as of 2014. A U.S. Department of Education 2014 report also shows that a net 13,000 students left the state to seek higher education elsewhere. Minnesota attracted as many as 5,000 students from Illinois.

An Oct. 2017 report published by the Associated Press shows enrollment at public universities in Illinois are down with the exception of the University of Illinois’ campuses in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago.

“I see a state that’s not working for us, and it’s time to build a state that works for everyone,” added Biss. “Our state is not positioned to provide the needed support to students at colleges; as a result, they keep hiking tuition.”

Biss believes in a fair tax system. Making the financial sector pay its share is the way to achieve a free college education for Illinois’ students, he said.

Biss considers himself a middle-class person who wants to fight for the poor. He wants to fight for universal healthcare, create a fair tax-system where millionaires pay their fair share and reform Illinois’ “broken” tax system.

“We have a system that’s been run by people who never had these challenges and struggles. It’s time to have a government that works for working people,” added Biss.

Biss’ campaign has received an endorsement from MoveOn, the largest independent, progressive group in the United States. Rockford Democratic Rep. Litesa Wallace is Biss’ running mate.

Biss graduated with an undergraduate degree from Harvard, and a Phd. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Mathematics. He served the 17th District as a representative from 2011-2013. He currently serves the 9th District as a senator.

Biss is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination against Chris Kennedy, J.B. Pritzker and Bob Daiber.  

Follow @danielbiss on Twitter and Facebook if you are interested in reaching out to his campaign.