Incumbentdemocrat

Bill Foster

Candidate for US House - 11th District

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

After a successful career in both business and science, I succumbed to my family’s recessive gene of late-onset political activism and thinking about how I could best serve my fellow citizens became very important to me. Answering that question is why I decided to leave my job at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory to run for office, and it keeps me motivated to serve in public office.

I am the only PhD physicist in Congress, and I bring with me a wealth of experience gained from a career that required prioritizing research and scientific evidence to draw conclusions and make recommendations -- something we need much more of in Washington.

The American people are facing a lot of challenges right now: from a right-wing assault on reproductive freedom to gun violence to the challenges posed by advances in AI and the need to better protect our climate for future generations. To tackle these issues, we need serious leaders who lead with science and a deep understanding of the policies that are debated in Washington. I’m proud of how I’ve approached my responsibilities to my constituents and how I’ve always fought to make sure science is prioritized in Congress.

How has your district been impacted by the migrant crisis and what do you think should be done?

Like many other communities across the Chicagoland area, my district has seen an increase in migrant arrivals from the US-Mexico border since the beginning of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s partisan stunt. It’s shameful that far-right Republicans are treating migrants and their families as political pawns and peddling anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The federal government has a responsibility to address this issue and provide Illinois with resources to manage the influx of migrants. I’ve joined my colleagues from the Illinois Congressional delegation to call on the Biden Administration to make this a priority. We also need to provide adequate resources to the immigration courts to reduce the backlog of asylum cases.

This situation is further proof that our immigration system is badly broken and we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

What do you think immigration reform in Congress should look like?

The United States is a proud nation of immigrants and we must adhere to the promise of the American Dream. Our diversity is what makes us strong.

Unfortunately, our immigration system is outdated and presents unnecessary challenges to immigrants who want to legally come to the United States. I support comprehensive immigration reform that modernizes our immigration system in a manner consistent with our values. I support the DREAM Act and I believe the 2013 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, which would have passed the House if not for the cowardice of then-Speaker John Boehner, was a good model for comprehensive immigration reform. It provided a strict but fair pathway to citizenship for those undocumented residents who were able to pay a modest fine, pay back-taxes, and pass a criminal background check. 

How important is bipartisanship to you and what issues have you worked on across the aisle or with people who don't uniformly share your beliefs?

I regularly work with my Republican colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee and on a host of issues that cut across party lines.

Many of the bills I’ve introduced were crafted alongside Republicans and enjoy their support. These include the Improving Digital Identity Act to prevent identity theft and government benefits fraud, my Fair Allocation of Highway Funds Act to ensure Illinois gets its fair share of federal highway funding, my Medicaid Coverage for Addiction Recovery Expansion Act to let low-income Americans access substance abuse treatment, and many others.
My Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Trump.

Though Democrats and Republicans often do not see eye to eye, I’ve been able to form close, personal relationships with some Members across the aisle. This allows us to find common ground, especially on critical issues like nuclear nonproliferation and scientific research.

What action, if any, do you want to see next on abortion access after the Dobbs decision?

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was the culmination of a deliberate effort by extreme Republicans to take away reproductive rights and control the health care decisions of women. Since the Dobbs decision, far-right politicians have been using it to restrict reproductive rights in states across the country.

Ensuring women in every state have access to reproductive health care, including safe abortion care, should be one of Congress’ top priorities. I have long supported and voted for the Women’s Health Protection Act which would restore the rights taken away by the Dobbs decision and enshrine them into federal law. As long as I have a vote in Congress, I will fight against extreme Republicans encroaching on women’s reproductive rights.

Did Joe Biden legitimately win the 2020 presidential race?

Yes

Should the United States provide Ukraine with money in its fight against Russia?

Yes

Should the United States provide Ukraine with aid in the form of military supplies?

Yes

Should the U.S. provide Israel with money in its fight against Hamas?

Yes

Should the United States provide Israel with aid in the form of military supplies in its fight against Hamas?

Yes

Should there be a law requiring background checks on all gun sales?

Yes

Should Congress pass a federal law banning semi-automatic assault-style weapons and large-capacity magazines to help address gun violence?

Yes