Birthdate: Oct. 7, 1955
Birth Place: Madison, WI, United States
Residence: Naperville, IL
District: District 11
Bill Foster was born in Madison, Wis., and now resides in Geneva, Ill. He earned a bachelor's at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctorate degree at Harvard University.
At 19, Foster started a successful theater lighting business with his brother, who still runs the company that has made them both rich.
A Harvard-educated physicist, Foster then spent more than 20 years working at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in suburban Chicago.
Foster grew up in a politically active family, and he says his switch to politics was part of a well thought out plan.
He won a special election to the U.S. House in March 2008, filling the remaining term of former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who retired in late 2007. In 2010, Foster was unseated by then-state Sen. Randy Hultgren.
Foster is married and has two children from a previous marriage.
Former U.S. Rep. Bill Foster is running for office again after losing his seat in 2010 to then-state Sen. Randy Hultgren.
Foster is challenging longtime U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert and believes he has a strong chance because of a new Democrat-drawn congressional map for the 11th District, which covers several suburbs southwest of Chicago.
Since the March 2012 primary, he's appeared at joint news conferences with Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth and Brad Schneider, Democrats who say they share a common goal when it comes to challenging their respective incumbent Republicans.
In April 2012, the trio announced their support for President Barack Obama's administration's so-called "Buffet rule" which would have imposed a minimum tax on the wealthiest Americans. The legislation failed.
"We are asking those who make over $1 million to at least pay the same rate middle-class families pay not continue to make the mistakes Congresswoman Biggert made by exploding the deficit and loading our children with debt to finance their tax giveaways," Foster said in a statement.
Foster nabbed a coveted Republican district when he won a March 2008 special election against Republican businessman Jim Oberweis to fill the remainder of former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert's term. Hastert retired in late 2007.
He was elected to a full term in the 2008 general election with 58 percent of the vote, again defeating Oberweis.
During his congressional career, Foster helped his fellow Democrats pass two contentious stimulus packages early in 2009 but ended up voting against the Democratic budget when the huge spending plan reached the House floor. He argued the spending plan may have taken steps toward reducing the annual deficit but it did nothing to begin paying down the national debt.
Waiting until the day of the vote to announce his support, Foster voted in favor of the 2010 health care reform bill, saying it would protect and strengthen Medicare and reduce the deficit over the next two decades.
"While the Senate bill itself is not perfect, many important improvements have been made so that the overall package is one that I can support," he said in a statement at the time.
Joined by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Foster promoted his idea of creating a check-off option on federal tax forms to support a National Military Family Relief Fund. He called it a way for taxpayers to say "thank you" to the nation's military without increasing government costs.
Foster claims a "strong recessive gene" for politics because he grew up in a politically active family with parents who met while working for senators on Capitol Hill.
But that gene took a back seat for many years as Foster, who for fun as a kid used to build computers out of spare parts, pursued a science career.
When Foster decided to leave behind the science labs for Washington, he said he initially thought of getting a committee staff job working on science policy on Capitol Hill.
Source: Associated Press