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Roll Call New Member Profiles: 113th Congress
  • Election: Defeated Rep. Judy Biggert, R
  • Residence: Naperville
  • Born: Oct. 7, 1955; Madison, Wis.
  • Religion: Unspecified
  • Family: Wife, Aesook Byon; two children
  • 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 there’s a political difficulty or an economic difficulty, there’s 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 law’s 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 nation’s 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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