Senator Daniel Biss Bio

Daniel Biss, a former mathematics professor, represented the 17th District in the House before his election to the state Senate. Biss grew up in Bloomington, Ind., 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.

During his term in the House, Biss passed legislation on issues including environmental policy, economic growth, political reform, consumer protection and equal rights for individuals with autism. With his common-sense approach, he emerged as a leader on fiscal matters and pushed both parties to overhaul the budget process to align spending with available revenue. He fought to preserve top priorities, such as education and services to seniors, while making tough choices to help Illinois live within its means and avoid surprise shortfalls. Biss served as co-chair of a bipartisan working group exploring solutions to the state's pension crisis. He is at the forefront of efforts to reform public pensions in ways that protect lower-income workers and workers who are near retirement and have less time to plan for adjustments to their benefits.

Biss also played a pivotal role in passing legislation that supports Illinois' high-tech entrepreneurs by tripling investments in venture capital at no cost to taxpayers – an effort that previously had stalled in the House. He was appointed last year to chair the state's Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee, which evaluated strategies to help more Illinoisans access critical resources through the Internet. Biss' experience in higher education informs his work to support the state's colleges and universities, which enable innovative and job-creating research as well as prepare students to compete in an increasingly high-tech employment market. As a new member of the Senate, Biss sits on that chamber's Licensed Activities and Pensions, Education, Higher Education, Environment and Local Government committees.

Biss has earned broad acclaim for his public service, including the John W. Maitland Award from the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization. His wife, Karin, is a former Peace Corps volunteer now working on her doctorate in history at Northwestern University. They and their two children, Elliot and Theodore, reside in Evanston and worship at Temple Beth Israel.

Illinois' 9th Legislative District, which Biss represents, encompasses all or part of Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Northfield, Glencoe, Glenview, Northbrook and Deerfield.

Senator Daniel Biss


9th Senate District

Years served: 2011 - 2012 (House); 2013 - 2018 (Senate)

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Human Services; Labor (Chairperson); Revenue.

Biography: Full-time legislator; former University of Chicago math professor; doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Served one term in the House before his election to the Senate. Resides in Evanston with his wife, Karin, and their children, Elliot and Theodore. Co-chair of a bipartisan pensions working group in the House and chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee.