I am involved with the College Democrats of Illinois State University as well as the Indy News. While ISU’s College Democrats were primarily responsible for setting up the Meet & Greet reported on bellow, I was not involved with its organization. I was asked to report on this event by the Indy News, not by the College Democrats of ISU. As such, I intended to cover this event with as much objectivity as possible.
Daniel Biss is a state senator representing Illinois 9th senate district. The former Chicago University Math professor said he felt a call to action amid the chaos of the 2002 national political situation. The chaos of 2017 appears to have called to him again, as he announced his candidacy for governor of Illinois on the morning of March 20, 2017 via a Facebook Live stream.
At a town hall-style meet & greet that same day in Normal, he stated his main goal as governor would be to clean up the ineffectual system in Springfield. Biss stated that Illinois’ situation is not born of any one politician’s malfeasance. Rather, a greater system of corruption that would exist even if you-know- who* wasn’t there. Biss repeatedly declared that the system of government in Illinois is tainted by special interests and “pet projects,” which are inevitably funded by taxpayers who don’t believe they will see any benefit from them. He believes the political power in this state must be returned to the people.
Biss affirmed his commitment to helping the communities that have suffered under the last thirty plus years of Illinois’ leadership. As he put it, too many communities, whether homogenous our diverse, have been “walked away from” by Illinois’ government.
Another issue to which Biss brought attention was our pension system. Illinois has a lot of individual pension systems. In other words, every town in Illinois has an individual pension system for police and fire fighters as Biss said. These smaller systems lead to little bargaining power on behalf of their members and low economies of scale, making them ineffective in delivering on their promises to workers. Biss declared that pension reform must be a top priority, whether it is “easy or not.”
Another top priority for a Governor Biss would be amending the Illinois Constitution to implement a progressive tax. As it stands today, Illinois is one of four states with a flat income tax. (The other three are having budget problems as well). As Biss put it, it’s not just a fair way to take in tax revenue, but the economically sound way, as “that’s where the money is.”
*Biss did specify a politician in describing who didn’t need to be here for the system to be broken, I just don’t remember who it was. But I’m being ambiguous so you can fill in the blank and expose your own biases. Yeah, didn’t think you were gonna read a newspaper and end up learning something about yourself now did you?