‘Illinois should work for everybody’; gubernatorial candidate Biss discusses tuition-free higher education


Daniel Biss, 9th District senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, speaks to a crowd of more than 50 attendees Tuesday in the Sky Room of the Holmes Student Center.

By Sara Rasmussen

DeKALB — Over 50 people braved Monday night’s winter weather advisory to attend a discussion by Daniel Biss, 9th District Senator and governor Democratic candidate.

Biss, who has teamed up with Rep. Litesa Wallace, Democratic candidate Lieutenant Governor, appeared at the DeKalb campus as part of his Road Forward University and College Tour for his campaign to win the March 20 Democrat nomination.

Biss spoke about his plans to provide Medicare for all Illinois residents, make community colleges and public universities tuition-free and reform the current tax system so millionaires pay more into the system.

Biss said he’s optimistic about his campaign for governor despite being unsure about it when he first started his campaign.

“There were a lot of people who saw this campaign as like, a nice, cute idea that wasn’t going to work,” Biss said.

Biss said he hopes to reach minority voters and help all communities. He said he thinks Illinois’ problems have a more political base and, in turn, should have political solutions.

“The goal of this campaign is to be everywhere, and our philosophy so far has been to go wherever we got to go,” Biss said.

Biss said he proposed a bill on Sunday that if approved would give research assistants working in universities an opportunity to become a part of a union.

“It’s an example of how we policymakers mistake influences over whether or not people at the bottom of the food chain at the university will have a chance to have some say over their own futures,” Biss said.

Wallace spoke of the vision she and Biss hope to accomplish. Wallace said the campaign wants Illinois to have a government that works for every person that lives there.

“Illinois should work for everybody, no matter what level of income they were born into,” Wallace said.

Wallace also touched on free college tuition and how it can be accomplished.

“We want to make sure that not only is public high school free, but we think public universities and colleges should be free, and the way to do that is to tap into the revenue from a LaSalle Street type tax,” Wallace said.

J.J. Wett, DeKalb County Board 2nd District candidate, said he has decided to endorse Biss because he is empathetic and treats Wett like a person, not someone with a disability.

Wett said the first time he met Biss in May, Biss was the only person who gave him the attention he appreciates.

“I felt that the only person in the room that gave me the attention as a man, and not as a person with a disability, was Daniel,” Wett said. “I have never had anything but true empathy from Daniel… Daniel is genuine, caring, methodical, and that’s why he has my vote for the next governor of Illinois.”