Daniel Biss represents the 9th District in the Illinois Senate. He is currently in his first term in the State Senate after serving for one term as State Representative of the 17th District. Daniel’s Senate district is contained entirely in Cook County's northern suburbs, including part or all of Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Golf, Kenilworth, Morton Grove, Northbrook, Northfield, Skokie, Wilmette, and Winnetka.
Daniel comes from a family of professional musicians, but set off on a different path when he became fascinated by mathematics as an adolescent. After completing high school in Bloomington, Indiana, he continued his studies at Harvard University. He then obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and eventually became a professor at the University of Chicago. Though Daniel did not contemplate entering politics until much later, his background in mathematics would in time make him both an intriguingly unlikely candidate for public office as well as a legislator with the ability to tackle complex issues from a unique perspective.
Daniel's first significant political activity was as a volunteer organizer on John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. This experience opened his eyes to the opportunity his skill set afforded him to impact public policy, as well as to the importance of doing grassroots community work to strengthen our democracy. He was eventually elected to the House in 2010 and rapidly emerged as a respected leader on fiscal matters, especially on the complex and emotional issue of public employee pensions. During his short time in the legislature, Daniel has already passed legislation on a variety of issues including environmental policy, high tech economic growth, political reform, public pension reform, equal rights for individuals with autism, consumer protection, and privacy.
In June of 2013, Daniel was appointed by Senate President John Cullerton to serve on a ten-member bipartisan bicameral conference committee tasked with crafting a compromise on one of our state’s most controversial and challenging issues: pension reform. Daniel also serves on five standing Senate committees: Licensed Activities and Pensions, Education, Higher Education, Local Government, and Environment.
In addition to his legislative work in Springfield, Daniel takes his activities in the district extremely seriously, earning him a reputation as an unusually accessible and communicative legislator. He hosts an ongoing series of acclaimed public discussions about major legislative issues, and is frequently sought after to address community organizations. His office has published several original policy studies and consistently receives high marks for its constituent service from Democrats and Republicans alike.
Daniel has often been recognized for his leadership. His honors include the 2012 John W. Maitland award from the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization, the 2011 Legislator of the Year award from the Illinois Association of Park Districts, and the 2011 designation as a Recycling Hero from the Illinois Recycling Association. He is a member of the class of 2012 of the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development as well as the Institute's 2013-2015 Steering Committee, the class of 2013 of the Edgar Fellows Program, and the NewDEAL, a national network of pro-growth progressive leaders.
Daniel is married to Karin Steinbrueck, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a Ph.D. candidate in history at Northwestern University. Karin and Daniel live in Evanston with their two sons, Elliot and Theodore.