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Bill Foster: Businessman, Scientist, Independent Solutions

Bill's Congressional Career

Bill Foster represents Illinois’ 11th Congressional District, which is comprised of parts of Will, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Cook Counties and stretches from Chicago’s western suburbs to two of Illinois’ largest cities – Aurora and Joliet.

From March 2008 until January 2011, Bill Foster represented Illinois' 14th Congressional District. He gained a reputation as a thoughtful, progressive, and moderate member of Congress who always focused on the long-term best interests of his country and the people he represented.


  • Bill began his political career in 2007 by challenging former Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert in one of the most famously Republican districts in the nation -- a district that Hastert had gerrymandered to provide himself a safe seat in Congress.
  • Hastert's resignation halfway though his term triggered a special election that drew national interest when it became clear that scientist, businessman, and Democrat Bill Foster had a realistic shot at winning this seat. The race became a proxy for the upcoming 2008 presidential election, as Illinois Sen. Barack Obama endorsed Foster in a campaign video advertisement and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain came in to campaign for the Republican candidate Jim Oberweis. In a groundbreaking Saturday special election, volunteers poured in from all over northern Illinois.
  • In what was described as "A Politcal Earthquake" Foster won the election by six points 53%-47%, becoming the first Democrat to represent the district in over 60 years.

  • THE 110th CONGRESS 2008-2009

  • Within hours of being sworn in, Bill cast the deciding vote in favor of the strongest Congressional Ethics Reform bill in generations.
  • Bill entered Congress midway through an 18 month economic collapse triggered by eight years of the worst economic mismanagement in our lifetimes -- a collapse in which families in America lost over $16 Trillion in household net worth and the average American lost over $50,000. Serving on the Financial Services Committee, Bill was closely involved in both the emergency response to the financial crisis and the legislative policy response to make sure that this will not happen again.
  • At the end of his first partial term in office, Bill was re-elected by a 15% margin -- a margin of victory 6% larger than President Obama's in the district.

  • THE 111th CONGRESS 2009-2011

  • This session began by responding forcefully to the economic collapse of 2008. Passage of the ARRA triggered a V-shaped recovery in all economic indicators and began the long, slow process of repairing our economy.
  • Wall Street Reform: as a member of the Financial Services committee, Bill was successful in getting 10/10 of his amendments included in the House-passed version of the financial reform bill -- and 6.5 of these survived the compromise with the Senate.
  • Bill joined as historic steps forward were taken in health care, human rights, and veterans benefits.
  • As a businessman who understands the value of sound financial planning, Bill became a strong advocate of fiscal reform. He used his technical knowledge to attack government waste: for example, cognizant of the enormous cost and military vulnerability of manned fighter planes (with program costs now estimated above $1.4 trillion) Bill got an amendment passed to force an investigation of a rapid transition to unmanned drone aircraft. Modern drones cost 10x less than manned aircraft and have superior air combat characteristics.

  • THE 113th CONGRESS 2013-2015

  • Bill returned to the House Financial Services Committee, where he continued to fight efforts by the Republican majority to eviscerate the Wall Street reform legislation.
  • Bill served as the co-chair of the Fiscal Responsibility working group of the New Democrats – a centrist, pro-business group of over 70 members of Congress.
  • Bill became a strong voice for Comprehensive Immigration Reform and immigrants' rights, introducing legislation and amendments to eliminate the wasteful and inhumane Detention Bed Mandate.
  • Bill became a thoughtful leader on issues of Financial Market Structures and High-Frequency trading, where his background in business, financial services and high-speed electronics makes him uniquely qualified in this complex area.

  • THE 114th CONGRESS 2015-2017

  • Bill was appointed to the House Committee on Science and Space Technology.
  • Bill was appointed to the task force on Terrorism Financing.
  • Bill returned to the House Financial Services Committee.
  • Bill was selected as the Democratic Co-Chair of the House Research & Development Caucus.
  • Bill was the Co-Founder of the Inventions Caucus, dedicated to preserving a robust and effective patent system in the United States.
  • Bill became very involved in the Congressional Oversight of the proposed Iranian nuclear deal, where his background as the last physicist in Congress gives him a unique perspective to evaluate technical aspects of the proposed agreement.

  • NEXT:  Bill's family