Biss brings progressive message to rally on UI campus

Biss brings progressive message to rally on UI campus

URBANA — Buoyed by polling that shows him running well ahead of Gov. Bruce Rauner in a potential head-to-head battle, Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss had an energetic message for University of Illinois students Thursday afternoon: They have a chance to change Illinois.

But only about 30 students were at the midafternoon event on the UI Quad that was billed as a "March to the Polls Rally." And even fewer got on a bus to the Brookens Center in Urbana, where early voting had begun Wednesday.

"Are we ready to change what's possible?" Biss shouted into a megaphone. "Are we ready, when they say we can't have universal health care, to just fight harder? When they say we can't have free college to just double down and fight harder?"

Biss, a former assistant professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago and a state senator from Evanston, said he would lead the fight "for a system that taxes LaSalle Street to pay for college and fight for a system that taxes hedge funds to pay for health care."

He also said he favored a graduated income tax, a living wage "for everyone," and legalized recreational marijuana.

Earlier Thursday, Biss' campaign released a Public Policy Polling survey of 866 Illinois voters that found that Biss had a 17- percentage-point lead over Rauner (47 percent to 30 percent) while presumed Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker's lead over Rauner was 13 percentage points (48 percent to 35 percent).

The poll was taken Monday and Tuesday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percent. About three-quarters of the respondents were contacted by landline while the remainder were interviewed over the internet.

"I think people are looking at the choice between a billionaire and a middle-class progressive, and I think the choice is clear," Biss said.

He also said he hoped that Pritzker would commit to a March 5 debate between the Democratic gubernatorial candidates that has been proposed by Champaign television station WCIA. Pritzker so far has declined to participate, as he did in a candidate forum last year on the UI campus. Without Pritzker, WCIA said there will be no debate.

"I think Pritzker has had a really bad week and he's trying to hide from the public, and he doesn't want to debate, which is a real shame because the people of central and southern Illinois should have a televised debate that's not in Chicago," Biss said. "And I don't see why J.B. Pritzker doesn't agree."

Biss also said it didn't matter to him which Republican won the gubernatorial nomination, Rauner or state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton.

"Governor Rauner is a failure and Jeanne Ives has been running one of the most offensive campaigns I've ever heard of. Either way, a Democrat needs to win the general election, and I believe I'm the best positioned candidate to do that," Biss said.

Sections (2):News, Local
Tags (1):election 2018

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Illiniwek11 wrote on February 09, 2018 at 12:02 pm


BruckJr wrote on February 09, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Public Policy Polling, now there's an unbiased voice.