Daniel Biss, Candidate for Governor
@danielbiss

Dear friends,

Thank you for the hard work you do on behalf of Democrats across Illinois. While my fellow Democratic candidates and I will have our disagreements, we ALL agree that Bruce Rauner must go, and you are on the frontlines of defeating him next fall.

Before that general election, there’s a crucial step that I believe will strengthen our party: a primary between Democratic candidates seeking to challenge Bruce Rauner.  It’s a time for Democrats across the state to meet the candidates, learn more about their qualifications, and choose the person that best represents the future of Illinois.  I’m honored to be a candidate in this race, and to work to earn your support over the next 10 months.

As a former math teacher, I never intended to run for political office. That changed as we lurched into war with Iraq in 2003. What I saw around me — a government that lacked transparency, accountability, and honesty — compelled me to put down the chalk and pick up a clipboard. It was during that time of organizing for progressive candidates and causes that I saw firsthand the power of grassroots people-powered campaigns.

I entered the race for governor because I believe Illinois is at a crossroads.  Our next governor will not only be responsible for stopping the destruction caused by Bruce Rauner and protecting our state against Donald Trump, but will need to reverse Illinois’ financial decline decades in the making — starting on day one.  But I also believe Democrats in Illinois are at a crossroads.  Success in this election hinges on learning lessons from our past. Illinois’ future depends on us learning them quickly.

Bruce Rauner is a failed experiment. As he clings to a dangerous ideology, Illinois workers, families, and communities are being destroyed. But how did Bruce Rauner get elected? Because of a broken system that stopped being accountable to most of us.  Over time, the wealthy and well-connected have created a system that benefits them — while the rest of us pay the price. Together, these forces have led us to more than 700 days without a budget. 700. We literally cannot afford to continue this way.

So how do we change course? We do it by being honest about who’s winning, who’s losing, and who pays. We do it by taking our state back.

That begins with a budget that provides for working families, instead of punishing them. We do this by instituting a fair tax that asks the wealthy to finally pay their fair share, so that we can honor our commitments, and begin making real investments that will strengthen our families and our economy. We must also end our dependence on a faulty property tax system that benefits the insiders, while forcing the rest of us to pick up the tab. And we must change the funding formula for our schools to give every student access to a high quality public education, including community college. It means investing in people, through higher wages and healthcare, and real investments in all communities across our state.

In my campaign and as governor, I will continue to fight the broken system. And I will continue to lead by example to do so.

When I say that we need a clear picture of our leaders’ potential conflicts of interest, so voters understand who they will be accountable to, I also make my tax returns public.  (You can find them here). I’m the only candidate in this race who has done so, giving you a chance to learn about any potential influences on my campaign or administration.

When I say that we must provide healthcare for all, I have not only passed a law out of the Senate that requires insurance companies to continue to cover preexisting conditions regardless of Trump’s “healthcare plan”, but as governor, I would end the profitable Medicaid contracts for insurance companies who refuse to participate in the Illinois insurance exchange, thereby refusing to offer coverage to all Illinoisans.

And when I say that we need to provide a quality public education to all, I support smart changes to our funding formula that allow us to do so, even at a cost to the wealthy schools in my district.

These are the values I believe in, and these are the values I’m running on for governor of Illinois.  But we can’t do any of these things alone.

Every day as I travel the state, I see in so many people the same frustrated energy that encouraged me to join a “meetup” nearly 14 years ago. In them, I see a shared understanding that a movement of people ready to make change is more powerful than money and the machine — and it’s how I know that together we will be successful.

In what’s already been called the most expensive gubernatorial race in our nation’s history, the antidote isn’t more money. It’s more people and more passion. That’s why I invite you to join us.

Thank you again for volunteering your time to lead our communities and work for a better Illinois. Thank you for giving up your weekends to knock on doors. Thank you for the late nights spent entering data and sorting through lists. Thank you for marching in parades in 90 degree weather and thank you for being the heart, soul and backbone of the Democratic Party.

I look forward to seeing you on the trail.

Onward,

Daniel