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Daniel Kálmán Biss[1] (born August 27, 1977)[2] is an American politician and member of the Illinois Senate from the 9th district, serving since January 2013. The district includes Chicago's northern suburbs, including Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka. Biss previously served in the Illinois House of Representatives from 2011 to 2013.

Daniel Biss
Daniel Biss 2012 (cropped).jpg
Member of the Illinois Senate
from the 9th district
Assumed office
January 2013
Preceded by Jeffrey Schoenberg
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 17th district
In office
May 2011 – January 2013
Preceded by Elizabeth Coulson
Succeeded by Laura Fine
Personal details
Born Daniel Kálmán Biss
(1977-08-27) August 27, 1977 (age 40)
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Karin Steinbrueck
Children 2
Education Harvard University (BA)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, PhD)
Profession Mathematician
Website Official website

He is a candidate in the Democratic Party primary for Governor of Illinois in the 2018 election.[3]


Personal life, education, and mathematical careerEdit

Biss was born into a family of musicians: his brother is the noted pianist Jonathan Biss, his parents are the violinists Paul Biss and Miriam Fried, and his grandmother was the Russian-born cellist Raya Garbousova.[4][5]

Biss received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, graduating summa cum laude in 1998, and his Ph.D. at MIT in 2002, both in mathematics.[6] He won the 1999 Morgan Prize for his outstanding research as an undergraduate, and was a Clay Research Fellow from 2002 to 2007.[7] His doctoral advisor was Michael J. Hopkins. He was a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in the fall of 2003.[8]

Biss created and wrote the mathematics behind the plot in An Abundance of Katherines, a novel by Vlogbrothers co-creator and author John Green.[9][10]

Prior to running for State Representative, Biss was an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Chicago. He published several papers about Grassmannian manifolds in prestigious journals, including the Annals of Mathematics, that later were discovered to contain a flaw which rendered the proofs invalid. In 2008, Biss published retractions in the journals.[6][11][12]

Illinois House of RepresentativesEdit

Committee assignmentsEdit

  • Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education
  • Personnel & Pensions
  • Consumer Protection
  • Small Business Empowerment & Workforce Development
  • International Trade & Commerce
  • Bio-Technology
  • Appropriations – Higher Education[13]

Electoral historyEdit

Illinois State Representative: Results 2008–2010[14]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2008 Daniel Biss 25,959 48.52% Elizabeth Coulson 27,540 51.48%
2010 Daniel K. Biss 23,134 54.78% Hamilton Chang 19,096 45.22%
Illinois State Senate: Results 2012[14]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2012 Daniel Biss 68,064 66.63% Glenn Farkas 34,081 33.37%

Political viewsEdit

According to a 2008 Political Courage Test, Daniel Biss supports carbon emissions limits. Biss is pro-choice, supporting legal abortion. He supports allowing high school graduates to pay in-state tuition at public universities regardless of immigration status, as well as state funding to raise the salaries of teachers.[15] He received a 7% rating by the NRA in 2010.[16] Biss has expressed support of labor unions[17] and has received $20,000 from AFSCME, the second largest donation to a state legislator.[18] Biss also supports legalizing marijuana in Illinois.[19]

In 2013, Biss cosponsored SB 1, a bill that aimed to limit the annual growth of retirement annuities within state employee's pension plans in an attempt to reduce debts in the state retirement system.[20] In May 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional.[21] In rejecting the constitutionality of SB-1, the Illinois Supreme Court stated: “These modifications to pension benefits unquestionably diminish the value of the retirement annuities the members…were promised when they joined the pension system. Accordingly, based on the plain language of the Act, these annuity-reducing provisions contravene the pension protection clause’s absolute prohibition against diminishment of pension benefits and exceed the General Assembly’s authority,” the ruling states.[22] Later, Biss acknowledged that his work on SB1 was an error saying, "I decided this was the least bad of the bad options. I allowed myself to think we couldn't do better." Biss is now in support of fully honoring the pension payments by instituting progressive tax reforms to fully fund them.[23]

In March 2017, Biss sponsored SB1424, a bill proposing a system of matching state funds for small-donor political contributions [24] and SB 780, a bill proposing to elect a number of statewide offices by ranked-choice ballot.[25] He also co-sponsored SB 1933, a bill by State Sen. Andy Manar to allow for automatic voter registration when applying for an Illinois drivers’ license. [26]

Biss supports universal health care and advocates specifically for a state-level single-payer healthcare system.[27][28] In June 2017, Biss voted to reinforce the Affordable Care Act in Illinois by preventing insurance companies from discriminating against customers with pre-existing conditions.[29]


Biss 2018 gubernatorial campaign logo.

On November 10, 2011, Biss announced his intent to run for the Illinois Senate seat held by retiring Senator Jeffrey Schoenberg.[30] He won the election on November 6, 2012, receiving over 66% of the vote.[31]

Biss announced a run for Illinois Comptroller in the 2016 special election[32] but dropped out and endorsed opponent Susana Mendoza.[33]

On March 20, 2017, Biss announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Illinois for the 2018 election on a Facebook Live video, attacking incumbent governor Bruce Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.[34] Biss joined a growing field of Democratic contenders, including businessman Chris Kennedy and Chicago alderman Ameya Pawar.[35]

Biss briefly named Chicago alderman and Democratic Socialists of America member Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his gubernatorial running mate, but dropped him from the ticket after just six days, apparently following a shift in Ramirez-Rosa's public support of the BDS movement.[36] Biss later announced his selection of Rockford-based state representative Litesa Wallace, a single mother and former social worker.[37][38]

Biss has been endorsed by many of his colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly, high profile academics and activists including Nobel laureate Richard Thaler and presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig, National Nurses United, the largest organization of registered nurses in the United States, and Our Revolution, the successor organization to Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign.[39][40][41] Biss received two-thirds of preferential votes from Illinois members of the progressive advocacy group[42]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Hoopes Prizes Awarded to Undergraduates and Thesis Advisers". Harvard Gazette. 28 May 1998. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  2. ^ Biss, Daniel K. (October 2000). "A Generalized Approach to the Fundamental Group" (PDF). The American Mathematical Monthly. Mathematical Association of America. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  3. ^ State Sen. Daniel Biss announces Democratic bid for governor 
  4. ^ Swinkels, Niels (June 12, 2013). "Jonathan Biss: A Super, Human, Musical Mission". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ Giovetti, Olivia (January 18, 2011). "Jonathan Biss". Time Out New York. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Szpiro, George G. (2010). "20: Brilliant but Fallible". A mathematical medley: fifty easy pieces on mathematics. American Mathematical Society. pp. 97–99. 
  7. ^ Daniel Biss, Clay Mathematics Institute
  8. ^ Institute for Advanced Study: A Community of Scholars
  9. ^ Nir, Oaz (2008). "Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines" (PDF). Notices of the AMS. American Mathematical Society. 55 (9): 1096–98. Retrieved June 8, 2011. 
  10. ^ Green, John (2006). An Abundance of Katherines. Dutton. ISBN 0-525-47688-1. 
  11. ^ Comment by Laura Anderson on September 21, 2007 to Chicago Reader article "John Edwards and -- Daniel Biss?" -- Anderson's account of the events
  12. ^ Error were discovered variously between 2005 (Anderson) and April 2006 (Mnev), Mnev posted September 2007, Biss submitted errata November 2008 (Annals) and December 2008 (Advances), which were published July 2009 (Annals) and March 2009 (Advances)
  13. ^ "Representative Daniel Biss (D)". Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Election Results". Cook County Board of Elections. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Daniel Biss' Issue Positions". Project Vote Smart. Philipsburg, Montana: One Common Ground. 2008. 
  16. ^ "Daniel K. Biss' Political Summary on Issue: Guns". Project Vote Smart. Philipsburg, Montana: One Common Ground. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Biss Kicks Off Campaign With 150 Strong" (PDF) (Press release). Evanston, Illinois: Daniel Biss for State Representative. September 14, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Wage increases slow, but not campaign contributions". Journal Standard (online ed.). Freeport, Illinois. Illinois Statehouse News. November 9, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Where do the candidates stand on marijuana?". Retrieved 2017-04-03. 
  20. ^ "SB 1 - Amends State Employee Pension Plans - Key Vote". Project Vote Smart. Philipsburg, Montana: One Common Ground. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  21. ^ Pearson, Rick; Geiger, Kim (8 May 2015). "Illinois Supreme Court rules landmark pension law unconstitutional". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 September 2015. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Biss' populist play: Tax LaSalle Street and rethink Amazon HQ2". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2018-03-05. 
  24. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for SB1424". Retrieved 2017-03-20. 
  25. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for SB0780". Retrieved 2017-03-20. 
  26. ^ "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for SB1933". Retrieved 2017-03-20. 
  27. ^ Miller, Rich (1 August 2017). "Biss, Pawar respond *** Pritzker outlines Medicaid buy-in idea". Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  28. ^ "The truth about single-payer". Daniel Biss for Governor. 5 August 2017. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  29. ^ Dugyala, Rishika (14 June 2017). "Biss joins fight to prevent denial of pre-existing conditions in Illinois". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  30. ^ Svitek, Patrick (November 10, 2011). "State Rep. Biss to seek Schoenberg's state Senate seat". The Daily Northwestern. 
  31. ^ Chang, Chi-an (November 7, 2012). "Biss Wins 9th State Senate District Race". Patch Media. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  32. ^ Pearson, Rick (22 September 2015). "City Clerk Mendoza gets major union backing in state comptroller bid". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 October 2015. 
  33. ^ Biss, Daniel. "Comptroller Campaign Update". Biss for Illinois (Press release). Evanston, Illinois. Retrieved 2015-11-25. 
  34. ^ Pearson, Rick (March 20, 2017). "State Sen. Daniel Biss announces Democratic bid for governor". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  35. ^ Schulte, Sarah (20 March 2017). "State Sen. Biss says he's running for Illinois governor". ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 20 March 2017. 
  36. ^ Smith, Ryan. "Ramirez-Rosa dumped off the Biss ticket in six days; denies flip-flop on Israel issue". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  37. ^ Vinicky, Amanda. "Daniel Biss Replaces Ramirez-Rosa with Rep. Litesa Wallace". Chicago Tonight | WTTW. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  38. ^ "Biss formally announces Litesa Wallace as new running mate". 8 Sept 17. Retrieved 9 October 2017.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  39. ^ "Who's on Team Biss?". Daniel Biss for Governor. Biss for Illinois. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 22 January 2018. 
  40. ^ Pedersen, Brendan (30 January 2018). "Biss Lands Major Progressive Group's Endorsement". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 
  41. ^ "Our Revolution Endorses Daniel Biss for Governor of Illinois". Our Revolution. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018. 
  42. ^ Payne, Benjamin (25 January 2018). "Daniel Biss Lands Endorsement For Illinois Governor". WVIK. Retrieved 30 January 2018. 

External linksEdit