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State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston has announced he’s become executive director of a new group seeking to train Democratic candidates to run on bread-and-butter economic issues.

Biss, 41, who finished second to J.B. Pritzker in the six-way Democratic primary for governor last spring, will complete his term in the state senate at the end of this year.

He managed the second-place finish despite spending only about a tenth of the $70 million spent in the primary by Pritzker.

Rust Belt Rising, the group he’s joining, was formed last October. It has a three-member board composed of John Gearen, a Chicago attorney; Rita McLennon, the former executive director of the Shriver National Poverty Law Center, and Richard Devine, the former chief of staff to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

In an email message to supporters, Biss said, “I wanted to stay in the fight for justice, to do so in a context not far from electoral or democracy work, and to have a chance to help shape an organization doing good and important work.”

He said the new group’s goal “is to bring the Democratic Party back to its roots as the party of working families who have been left behind by a system rigged in favor of the top one percent.”

“Ever since Trump was elected, we’ve seen endless debates about whether Democrats should try to win back Obama-Trump voters or consolidate gains among Romney-Clinton voters. We’ve heard constant fighting about whether to focus on racial justice or economic justice,” Biss said.

“In truth, these are all false choices,” Biss says. “As we hopefully head toward a blue wave election this November, it’s become clearer than ever that in a world with terrifying consolidation of wealth, power, and privilege in the hands of a very few, the path to success is to focus on an agenda and message that unites the many who have been left behind around a bold vision of the just society we can build together.”

He says Rust Belt Rising is committed to helping candidates in the Great Lakes states do just that. “Already in this election cycle we’re training over 100 candidates, and this is just the beginning.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Good luck Daniel

    And may I offer a couple of suggestions for your training program for elected officials?

    1. Please provide them with an understanding of Income Statements, Balance Sheets and Cash Flow Statements. These basic financial statements provide the foundation for annual budgets.

    2. Please make sure they understand that 2 + 2 = 4 (many politicians think it’s 5 or 6)

    3. Please help them in understanding the importance in the decision making process of understanding assumptions and probabilities. Very few issues in life and government are 100% certain.

    4. Please incorporate a cost / benefit framework as they approach issues.

    5. And please, please help them understand the reality of unintended consequences. For each and every decision or consideration, have them ask the question, “what are the potential unintended consequences?”

    Thank you for your leadership 

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