Judy Biggert, Bill Foster | Candidates Debate for District 11 - FOX 35 News Orlando

FOX Chicago Sunday: Biggert, Foster debate to represent 11th Congressional District

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(Mike DeCapua / FOX Chicago News) (Mike DeCapua / FOX Chicago News)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Two of Illinois's wealthiest politicians agreed today to do something neither has ever done before: make copies of their income tax returns public. The bi-partisan promise came during a Fox Chicago News 11th Congressional District debate.

During his 34 months on Capitol Hill, Democrat Bill Foster's $18 million net worth made him the richest Illinoisan in Congress.  When he lost his House seat in 2011, Judy Biggert took the title. She's worth an estimated $5.5 million. Now, both seek to represent the new West Suburban 11th District, including all or part of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Naperville, Aurora and Hinsdale.

"I'd be willing to release my taxes," Biggert said. "Nobody's asked (previously). So, why do it when you don't have to?"

Biggert said she files taxes jointly with lawyer Roddy Biggert, her husband of nearly 49 years.  Foster, who married physicist Aesook Byon about three years ago, said they file their tax returns separately.

Asked to release his returns, Foster replied, "Certainly. And my spouse's if it's relevant."

While agreeing to disclose her own tax returns, Biggert said it's a practice that could discourage others who've been financially successful from seeking public office:

"I think that it is a question of privacy. I think that -- Are we gonna have people willing to run for office because so many people think that privacy is so important? But, I'm above board," she said.

FOX Chicago News did request copies of the income tax returns filed by the candidates and their spouses.  Both said their accountants would get on it.
 
Biggert and Foster had big disagreements on other issues, including whether to extend all of the Bush era tax cuts now set to expire next year; and the Affordable Care Act often called Obama Care.  On a potential Assault Weapons Ban, Biggert said she'd vote "No."  Foster said he would have to study details of any proposed AWB.  There was also a lengthy discussion about the future of Argonne Lab (located in the 11th District) and Fermilab, located just north of the district in suburban Batavia.

DISTRICT CHANGES

Biggert actually represents a different district right now. The six-term congresswoman's longtime home in DuPage County (which was built in 1864 by the founder of Hinsdale) is now in the same district as Wrigley Field -- Rep. Mike Quigley's 5th Congressional District. So she chose to run in the newly redrawn Congressional District 11, which includes part of Hinsdale, parts of Aurora, Joliet, Bolingbrook, Woodridge and Naperville.

Foster lives in Naperville. He's a former Fermilab physicist and entrepreneur who won the old 11th District seat in 2008, lost in 2010, and is currently fighting to return to Capitol Hill.

The entire debate will be broadcast at 8:30 a.m. this Sunday on a special edition of Fox Chicago Sunday.

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