George William Foster (born October 7, 1955) is an American businessman, physicist, and U.S. representative for Illinois’s 11th congressional district, winning the seat in 2012.[1] He was the U.S. representative for Illinois’s 14th congressional district from 2008 to 2011. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life, education, and business career

Foster was born in 1955 in Madison, Wisconsin. As a teenager, he attended James Madison Memorial High School. He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1976 and his Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 1983.[2] The title of his doctoral dissertation is “An experimental limit on proton decay: .”[3]

Physics career

After completing his Ph.D., Foster moved to the Fox Valley with his family to pursue a career in high-energy (particle) physics at Fermilab, a Department of Energy National Laboratory. During his 22 years at Fermilab, he participated in several projects, including the design of equipment and data analysis software for the CDF Detector, which were used in the discovery of the top quark, and the management of the design and construction of a 3 km Anti-Proton Recycler Ring for the Main Injector.[4][5]

In 1998, Foster was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.[6] He was a member of the team that received the 1989 Bruno Rossi Prize for cosmic ray physics for the discovery of the neutrino burst from the supernova SN 1987A. He also received the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers‘ Particle Accelerator Technology Prize and was awarded an Energy Conservation award from the United States Department of Energy for his application of permanent magnets for Fermilab‘s accelerators.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

2008 special

On November 26, 2007, former House Republican Speaker J. Dennis Hastert resigned as the Representative from Illinois’s 14th congressional district. Foster announced his candidacy to fill the vacancy on May 30, 2007.[8] In the March special election, Foster defeated Republican nominee and Hastert-endorsed candidate Jim Oberweis, 53%–47%.[9][10]

2008 general

In November, Oberweis ran against Foster again. Foster won reelection to a full term, 58%–42%.[11]

2010

Foster was challenged by Republican nominee State Senator Randy Hultgren and Green Party nominee Daniel Kairis. Despite being endorsed by the Chicago Tribune,[12] the Chicago Sun-Times[13] and The Daily Herald,[14] Foster lost to Hultgren, 51%–45%.[15][16]

2012

In May 2011, Foster sold his home in Geneva, moved to Naperville and announced plans to run for Congress in the 11th district, which encompasses Aurora, Joliet, Lisle in addition to Naperville. It also includes roughly a quarter of his former district.[17][18] The district had previously been the 13th, represented by seven-term Republican Judy Biggert. Although Biggert’s home in Hinsdale had been shifted to the Chicago-based 5th district, Biggert opted to seek election in the 11th, which contained half of her old territory.[19]

On November 6, 2012, Foster won the election for the 11th district with 58% of the vote.[20]

2014

Foster ran again and was unopposed in the Democratic primary.[21] In the general election, he defeated the Republican nominee, State Representative Darlene Senger, with 53.5% of the vote to her 46.5%.[22]

2016

Foster ran again and was unopposed in the Democratic primary.[23] In the general election, he defeated the Republican nominee, Tonia Khouri, with 60.4% of the vote to her 39.6%.[23]

2018

Foster again was unopposed in the Democratic primary. In the general election, he defeated the Republican nominee, Nick Stella, with 63.8% of the vote to Stella’s 36.2%.[23]

2020

Foster faced a primary challenge from Rachel Ventura and won the nomination with 58.7% of the vote. In the general election, he defeated Republican nominee, Rick Laib, with 63.3% of the vote.[23]

2022

Foster won the June 28 Democratic primary and is running for reelection to the House in the November 8 general election.[24]

Tenure

Although it was initially thought that Foster would not be sworn in until April 2008 due to the need to count absentee ballots before his first election was certified, he took the oath of office on March 11, 2008.[25]

Foster joined Vern Ehlers and Rush Holt Jr. as the only research physicists ever elected to Congress.[26] On his first day in office, he cast the deciding vote to keep from tabling an ethics bill that would create an independent outside panel to investigate ethics complaints against House members.[27][28]

Fundraising

According to OpenSecrets, Foster received $637,050 from labor-related political action committees during his runs for Congress. $180,000 of this money came from PACs linked to public sector unions. $110,000 of these donations came from PACs linked to industrial labor unions.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Nancy Pelosi gave $4,000 to Foster’s 2012 campaign committee. PACs under Pelosi’s control donated $10,000 to his 2012 campaign.

Taxes

Foster supported allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire. During a debate with his opponent in the 2012 election, Foster said, “The tax cuts were promised to generate job growth, but did not. If you follow the money, when you give a dollar to a very wealthy person, they won’t typically put it back into the local economy.” He said the tax benefits ended up in overseas accounts and spent on luxury purchases.[29]

Foster has opposed efforts to repeal the estate tax. On 31 August 2005, U.S. Newswire reported that Foster said, “The proponents of estate tax repeal are fond of calling it the ‘death tax’. It’s not a death tax, it’s a Rich Kids’ tax.” In 2009, just before the estate tax was scheduled for a one-year repeal, Foster voted to permanently extend the then current estate tax rate of 45%.

Card check

According to the official Thomas website, Foster co-sponsored the Employee Free Choice Act of 2009, which would enable unionization of small businesses of less that 50 employees. On 25 February 2012, the Daily Herald reported, “Foster pointed to his support for the Employee Free Choice Act while serving at the congressman in the 14th District as proof of his union support.”

Stimulus spending

Foster voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009[30]

Health care reform

Foster voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).[31] On June 29, 2012, the Chicago Tribune reported that Foster said of his vote for Obamacare, “I’m proud of my vote, and I would be proud to do it again.”

Dodd-Frank

He also voted for the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, with all ten of the amendments he proposed being added to the final bill.[32]

Environment

He voted against the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would create a Cap and trade system.[33]

Second Amendment

Asked if the Second Amendment should be up for reinterpretation, Foster said, “It always has been up for reinterpretation. The technology changes, and the weapons thought to be too dangerous to be in private hands change. A civil war cannon is frankly much less dangerous than weapons we are allowed to carry on the streets in many of the states and cities in our country today. This is something where technology changes and public attitude changes and both are important in each of the generations.”[34]

Committee assignments

Current
Past

Caucus memberships

Electoral history

Illinois 14th Congressional District Special Democratic Primary, 2008[39]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster 32,982 49.60
DemocraticJohn Laesch28,43342.76
DemocraticJotham Stein5,0827.64
Total votes66,497 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2008[40]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster 32,410 42.47
DemocraticJohn Laesch32,01241.94
DemocraticJoe Serra6,0337.90
DemocraticJotham Stein5,8657.68
Total votes76,320 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District Special Election, 2008[41]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster 52,205 52.53
RepublicanJim Oberweis47,18047.47
Total votes99,385 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2008[42]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 185,404 57.75
RepublicanJim Oberweis135,65342.25
Total votes321,057 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2010[43]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 25,446 100.0
DemocraticBobby G. Rose10.00
Total votes25,447 100.0
Illinois 14th Congressional District General Election, 2010[44]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Republican Randall M. “Randy” Hultgren 112,369 51.31
DemocraticBill Foster (incumbent)98,64545.04
GreenDaniel J Kairis7,9493.63
Write-in votesDoug Marks500.02
Total votes219,013 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2012[45]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster 12,126 58.48
DemocraticJuan Thomas5,21225.13
DemocraticJim Hickey3,39916.39
Total votes20,737 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District General Election, 2012[46]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster 148,928 58.57
RepublicanJudy Biggert (incumbent)105,34841.43
Write-in votesChris Michel190.01
Total votes254,295 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District General Election, 2014[47]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 93,436 53.46
RepublicanDarlene Senger81,33546.54
Write-in votesConstant “Connor” Vlakancic10.00
Total votes174,772 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District General Election, 2016[48]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 166,578 60.45
RepublicanTonia Khouri108,99539.55
Total votes275,573 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District General Election, 2018[49]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 145,407 63.84
RepublicanNick Stella82,35836.16
Total votes227,765 100.0
Illinois 11th Congressional District General Election, 2020[50]
PartyCandidateVotes%
Democratic Bill Foster (incumbent) 194,557 63.30
RepublicanRick Laib112,80736.70
Write-in votesJon Harlson13< 0.01
Total votes307,377 100.0

Personal life

Foster and his wife, Aesook Byon, live in Naperville, Illinois.[51][52] He has two adult children from his first marriage.[18]

References

  1. ^ “Judy Biggert Concedes Race To Bill Foster”. CBS Chicago. November 6, 2012. Archived from the original on November 10, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ “Bill Foster – Who Runs Government”. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  3. ^ Foster, George William (1983). A Experimental Limit on Proton Decay: Proton —> Positron + Neutral Pion. Harvard University. Bibcode:1983PhDT……..48F.
  4. ^ Foster, G. William (May 12–16, 1997). “[4C.01] The Fermilab Permanent Magnet Antiproton Recycler Ring”. The 1997 Particle Accelerator Conference Meeting Program Vancouver BC, Canada. Fermilab. Archived from the original on July 18, 2003. Retrieved February 24, 2008.
  5. ^ Spotts, Peter N. (May 1, 2004). “Physicists hope to win support for new subatomic smasher”. The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on September 5, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
  6. ^ “APS Fellow Archive”. American Physical Society. (search on year=1998 and institution=Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory)
  7. ^ American Astronomical Society – High Energy Astrophysics Division (1989). “HEAD AAS Rossi Prize Winners”. Archived from the original on April 6, 2008. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
  8. ^ “Geneva man seeks position in Congress”. Courier News (Elgin, IL). May 31, 2007. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2008.
  9. ^ “General election results”. Chicago Tribune. March 8, 2008. Archived from the original on March 12, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
  10. ^ “IL – District 14 – Special Election”. Our Campaigns. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  11. ^ “IL – District 14”. Our Campaigns. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
  12. ^ “For the US House”. Chicago Tribune. October 7, 2010. Archived from the original on October 9, 2010. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  13. ^ “Foster for 14th District”. Chicago Sun-Times. October 6, 2010. Archived from the original on October 12, 2010.
  14. ^ “Congress, 14th District: Foster”. The Daily Herald. October 16, 2010. Archived from the original on October 21, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  15. ^ “Our Campaigns – IL – District 14 Race – Nov 02, 2010”. ourcampaigns.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  16. ^ “Clout St. Democrat Foster concedes defeat in 14th District”. Chicago Tribune. November 2, 2010. Archived from the original on November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 3, 2010.
  17. ^ Lynn Sweet (May 31, 2011). “Illinois Congress 2012: Bill Foster running in new 11th district”. Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on June 2, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  18. ^ a b Katherine Skiba (May 31, 2011). “In wake of remap plan, ex-lawmaker to run again”. Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  19. ^ Mike Flannery, Dane Placko (August 9, 2012). “FOX Chicago Sunday: Biggert, Foster debate to represent 11th Congressional District”. Fox Chicago. Archived from the original on November 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Matt Hanley, Jenette Sturges (November 6, 2012). “Foster returns to Congress with win over Biggert”. The Herald-News. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013.
  21. ^ “Official Illinois State Board of Elections Results – March 18, 2014 Primary Election (P. 31)” (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 21, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  22. ^ “Illinois General Election 2014”. Illinois State Board of Elections. November 4, 2014. Archived from the original on December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 28, 2014.
  23. ^ a b c d “Bill Foster (Illinois)”. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  24. ^ “Bill Foster (Illinois)”. Ballotpedia. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  25. ^ Hague, Leslie (March 11, 2008). “Foster sworn into Congress”. Daily Herald. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
  26. ^ Cornelia Dean (July 10, 2008). “Physicists in Congress Calculate Their Influence”. The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 13, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
  27. ^ “Final Vote Results for Roll Call 121”. March 11, 2008. Archived from the original on March 27, 2008. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
  28. ^ Jim Tankersley. “First day, swing vote for new Rep. Bill Foster”. The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 17, 2008.
  29. ^ Dauskurdas, Sherri (September 2, 2012). “Biggert, Foster sit down for first debate of new 11th district”. The Bugle. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012.
  30. ^ “FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 46”. house.gov. Archived from the original on July 5, 2017. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  31. ^ “Final Vote Results for Roll Call 165”. HR 3590 Recorded Vote : Bill Title: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. U.S. House of Representatives. March 21, 2010. Archived from the original on February 5, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  32. ^ “Bill’s Congressional Career”. Billfoster.com. Bill Foster for Congress. Archived from the original on March 25, 2012. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  33. ^ “Final Vote Results for Roll Call 477: HR 2454”. Recorded Vote; Question: On Passage; Bill Title: American Clean Energy and Security Act. U.S. House of Representatives. June 26, 2009. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  34. ^ Hegarty, Erin. “Rep. Bill Foster: Second Amendment meant to be reinterpreted by each generation”. chicagotribune.com. Archived from the original on August 6, 2020. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  35. ^ “Pelosi Names Select Members to Bipartisan House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis”. Speaker Nancy Pelosi. April 29, 2020. Archived from the original on May 11, 2020. Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  36. ^ “Members”. New Democrat Coalition. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018.
  37. ^ “Membership”. Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  38. ^ “Members”. U.S. – Japan Caucus. Archived from the original on December 21, 2018. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  39. ^ “Election Results 2008 SPECIAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  40. ^ “Election Results 2008 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  41. ^ “Election Results 2008 SPECIAL GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  42. ^ “Election Results 2008 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Retrieved October 25, 2019.[permanent dead link]
  43. ^ “Election Results 2010 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  44. ^ “Election Results 2010 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  45. ^ “Election Results 2012 GENERAL PRIMARY”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  46. ^ “Election Results 2012 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  47. ^ “Election Results 2014 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  48. ^ “Election Results 2016 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on March 8, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  49. ^ “Election Results 2018 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on January 16, 2021. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  50. ^ “Election Results 2020 GENERAL ELECTION”. Illinois State Board of Elections.
  51. ^ “Three House Members Wearing New Rings in the 111th”. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 20, 2016. Retrieved February 8, 2013.
  52. ^ “Foster, Bill – Statement of Candidacy”. Federal Elections Commission. September 29, 2011. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2011.

Further reading

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois’s 14th congressional district

2008–2011
Succeeded by

Preceded by

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois’s 11th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by

United States representatives by seniority
120th
Succeeded by