A lifelong commitment to public service
Daniel Biss, a former mathematics professor, represents the 9th District in the Illinois State Senate. Prior to that, he served one term in the House representing the 17th District. Since joining the legislature in 2011, Daniel has earned a reputation as a thoughtful, effective elected official, passing legislation on key issues including environmental policy, economic growth, political reform, consumer protection, tech policy and retirement security.
With his common-sense approach, Daniel has emerged as a leader on fiscal matters. He has fought to preserve funding for critical services including education and assistance for seniors, while making tough choices to help Illinois live within its means and avoid surprise shortfalls. Daniel has earned broad recognition for his leadership on the public pension debt problem, always focusing on approaches that protect lower-income workers and workers who are near retirement.
Daniel is also one of the first legislators in the country to appreciate the extent of our nation’s looming retirement crisis. He spearheaded a two-year battle to enact the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program, an innovative and acclaimed mechanism to help millions of Illinois workers save for retirement using an automatic enrollment IRA with low fees. With the passage of this bill in late 2014, Illinois became the first state in the country to enact such a program, and Daniel became an acknowledged leader of a growing national movement.
Building on his mathematical background, Daniel has become the General Assembly's leader on technology policy. He played a pivotal role in passing legislation that supports Illinois' high-tech entrepreneurs by tripling investments in venture capital at no cost to taxpayers, and passed legislation protecting innovators from unethical "patent trolls". He has also enacted privacy protections from new technologies such as drones and GPS devices, and chaired the state's Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee, which seeks to grant Illinoisans access to critical resources through the Internet.
Daniel's experience in higher education has motivated him to actively support the state's colleges and universities, which enable transformative research and also constitute the best ladder into the middle class in today's economy. In the Senate, he sits on that chamber's Appropriations, Education, Financial Institutions, and Revenue committees and serves as Chair of the Human Services committee.
Daniel grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, and moved to Chicago after completing a Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the age of 25, he joined the University of Chicago's mathematics faculty. He later served as an adviser to the governor on ethics and transparency.
Daniel has developed a reputation for providing efficient and respectful constituent service through his district office, as well as for his efforts to inform and engage the public with frequent town halls and community meetings across the district. He has become a sought-after speaker across the Chicago area and elsewhere in the country, addressing, among others, the City Club of Chicago, the Aspen Institute Financial Security Summit, and the Illinois Asset Building Group Ideas in Motion Conference.
Daniel has received many recognitions for his public service, including the 2016 Richard J. Phelan Profile in Courage Award from Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, the 2015 Alzehimer's Association Illinois Legislator of the Year award, the 2014 Community Investment Award from the Woodstock Institute, and the 2012 John W. Maitland Award from the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization. Daniel was also named one of Crain’s Chicago Business’s “40 Under 40” class of 2014. His wife, Karin, is a former Peace Corps volunteer now working on her doctorate in history at Northwestern University. They live in Evanston with their two children, Elliot and Theodore.
- Appropriations I
- Financial Institutions
- Human Services – Chair