Education: U. of Wisconsin, B.A. 1976 (physics); Harvard U., Ph.D. 1983 (experimental physics)
Career: Physicist; theater lighting company owner
Political highlights: U.S. House, 2008-11; defeated for re-election to U.S. House, 2010
Bill Foster, D Ill.-11
Having secured a return engagement, Bill Foster will likely be most influential on science issues, as he was during his previous one-term stint.
Always when theres a political difficulty or an economic difficulty, theres a part of it you can address with science, he said during the campaign.
A physicist, he wants committee assignments that would allow him to increase funding for Illinois research laboratories. Though he sees the best opportunity for such success being a seat on the Energy and Commerce or Appropriations panels, he is also interested in returning to his old stomping grounds at the Financial Services Committee. He would use that panel to focus on oversight of the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul laws implementation.
Foster has set another science-related priority: making the research and development tax credit permanent.
He supports dismantling tax incentives that move jobs offshore and renegotiating trade agreements to emphasize U.S. manufacturing and agriculture. He says it was a historic blunder to let China into the World Trade Organization without addressing that nations currency manipulation issues.
Foster is considered a moderate in the Democratic Caucus and comes from a family that was active in Democratic politics. His parents met while his mother was an aide to Democratic Sen. Paul H. Douglas of Illinois and his father was an aide to Democratic Sen. Francis J. Myers of Pennsylvania.
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Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.