Local Berniecrats Q&A with Candidate for Governor, Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss

Courtesy of Chris Rohde

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Re-cap of Q&A with State Senator Daniel Biss


We covered a number of topics. I wanted to make a review of the session. Here are the major topics. THIS NOT THE BERNIECRATS CHICAGO CHAPTER ENDORSING HIS CANDIDACY OR THE CHAPTER SPEAKING FOR HIM. All content on this document can be seen by viewing the FB Live videos.


Would Senator Biss work to amend the state constitution to get rid of the flat tax?

Answer: Yes. “Not only do you have to be for it, you have to build a movement around it.”


Would you support policies to help organic AG in the state of Illinois?

He mentioned how it is important to go after large AG conglomerates. That there needs to be a movement of people against giant conglomerates as a whole to be successful. He did mention later that the state needs to “rethink” our policy of subsidizing Agri-business.


Direct question: “Will you aggressively support the legalization of marijuana? What will be your first steps in tackling this issue?”

“The answer to your question is Yes.” He did add he does not feel like full legalization of recreational marijuana is “around the corner” but the people need to push the legislator in that direction. He also mentioned that the most important step is to “aggressively” expand the medicinal marijuana law that we have now.


Speaking on criminal justice reform.

Wants former convicts to be on “a neutral playing field” when they leave prison. Also spoke on how the state of Illinois can sue formerly incarcerated people to pay back the cost of their incarceration. He helped pass a bill to stop that and the governor vetoed it.


On supporting a bill on capping rent increases.

He supports the bill even though he does not represent the city, where the bill was introduced. He does acknowledge there is a lack of affordable apartments in the suburbs.


When asked on the Fight for $15

He supports it. He also supports a $15 minimum wage that does not include the “tip credit” condition. He acknowledged that it would be need to be a gradual increase. While he did say we need to wait to see how its impact in California, Washington and New York, he feels it will ultimately work out there. He is introducing a bill that pays government subcontractors $15 an hour. He wants a minimum wage that goes up with inflation. He also wants to grow organized labor in the state.


On the ACA. More specifically would he support a Medicare/Medicare expansion for all Illinois residents?

“Yes, of course.” Later he said if the ACA is repealed the state would have to “step in to that breach.” Also, that we need to push Gov. Rauner to take a stance on this to see if he plans to do nothing if the ACA is repealed.


Asked about a state bank.

Did not feel he was informed well enough on to make a decisions on one way or another. He did say that he hears good things and that it is an intriguing idea. He does acknowledge that the state’s money being in large financial institutions is damaging the states.  He did say he likes the concept “100 percent” but would need to know more about it.


Asked about financial transaction taxes.

“Financial transaction taxes are the best tax.” He admits it couldn’t pass now, but we need to make the case in Illinois. He also said that it is better to do on the national level because there is more money to be had and companies can’t leave one state to move to another to avoid the tax. He says the fastest way to raise money from taxes is to close corporate tax loop holes, then reworking the tax code to tax a higher percent at the top AND then passing a financial transaction tax.


Speaking on Fund Raising

Said raising money from labor unions was important and the way they give money is through their PACs. Wants to raise his money from individual voters. Emphasized that a campaign financed by individual contributions would help create a “movement people are invested in.” Did mention that he wouldn’t refuse money from people that he didn’t agree with, but would let them know he doesn’t agree with them.

Who does he endorse for Chair of the DNC?

Answer: Keith Ellison


Asked about if a voter can’t vote against Mike Madigan, what can they do?

He says his elected official who is a Democrat can because Madigan has to get the votes from that official.


On the topic of minority communities being left behind and the disproportionately high unemployment in the African-American community.

He says Illinois must reinvest in those communities. The state needs to reinvest in schools, infrastructure and public work. Hiring teachers, construction workers and public works employees from those communities he feels is key.

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