Rep. Cheri Bustos prepares to leave office in January

Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 1:06 AM CST
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ROCK ISLAND CO., Ill. (KWQC) - Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is making her rounds and saying farewell to Illinois’ 17th Congressional District this week.

Bustos was the first woman elected to represent the district in 2012, after defeating Republican incumbent Bobby Schilling.

Last year she announced she would not run for a 6th term.

In her 10 years in Washington D.C., the congresswoman served in party leadership roles and on committees like the House Committee on Appropriations, which proposes how the country will spend its money.

Coming from a farming family, Bustos said her proudest appointment was to the Agriculture Committee.

During her time on the committee, she heard from farmers hoping to see protections to crop insurance in the next farm bill.

“We took staff from the House Ag Committee, who documented all of that and that will be used as the foundation for writing this next piece of very important legislation,” Bustos said.

Having lived in the Quad Cities, Bustos said she knows the importance of the lock and dam system, the new I-74 bridge and the Rock Island Arsenal

She considers bringing jobs and funding to those projects among the highest peaks in her career.

“Think of our men and women in uniform, who are fighting in conflicts to protect our democracy to protect us,” Bustos said. “We are gearing up for that next-generation combat vehicle, and that’s happening right over at the Rock Island Arsenal "

On the other hand, in her eyes, one of her career’s lowest valleys was not seeing a QC to Chicago Amtrack route come to fruition.

“We have $172 million that is sitting there for this route to be completed,” Bustos said. “It just didn’t get moving along fast enough for this to be completed.”

The congresswoman is still piecing together what’s next for her career. She said she’s looking forward to working with the Council for Responsible Social Media, a non-profit that hopes to minimize harm caused by an increasingly online world.

“As you think about social media, how are we going to get it to a place where we still we have free speech, which has to be protected at all costs, but our kids will be safe, and democracy will be safe?” Bustos said.

Representative Bustos’ last day on the job is Jan. 2. Her successor, Democrat Eric Sorensen will take his oath of office the next day.