Science  14 Sep 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5844, pp. 1479b
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5844.1479b

JUMPING IN … Bill Foster (above) spent 22 years as an experimental physicist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois. Now he wants to set up shop in the U.S. Congress. He's running for the seat being vacated by the former House Speaker, Illinois Republican Dennis Hastert, who is retiring next year.

A Democrat and a fellow of the American Physical Society, the 51-year-old Foster says Congress needs more members with a scientific background. “Almost every issue we face has a technical edge,” he says. “To get good policy, you need clear goals, a good technical understanding, and a firm grasp of economics.” Foster says he would push for more research into biofuels, participation in international efforts to fight climate change, and a renewed emphasis on nuclear nonproliferation.

Observers say Foster's deep pockets should serve him well in his campaign. As teenagers, he and his brother Fred started a company that now makes most of the theater lighting in the United States. “He's a serious candidate because he has vowed to spend at least $1 million of his own money,” says Eric Krol, a political writer for the local Daily Herald. But although Foster may outspend his two Democratic rivals, Republican businessman Jim Oberweis plans to spend $2.5 million on his campaign, and, Krol notes, the district is “still one of the more Republican parts of Illinois.”

Related Content

Navigate This Article