Catching up with Rep. Cheri Bustos before her term ends

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 5:25 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - After serving the stateline for a decade on the National Stage, representative Cheri Bustos is hanging up her hat at the start of the New Year. On Monday, she stopped by the 23 News office to discuss her accomplishments and her hopes for the future.

Back in 2012, Bustos defeated Republican Incumbent Bobby Schilling by 6% for the 17th Congressional District seat. Now, she plans to take on new challenges and spend more time with her family.

“It’s time to make room for the next generation of leaders. And so that’s what I’ve done and now it’s onward,” she said.

Bustos says she always planned to leave office before her physical and political fire dimmed.

“I’m healthy and I’m energetic and I have at least another career in me.”

Bustos is proud of her accomplishments over a decade in congress, such as building up the Chicago-Rockford International Airport, and securing funding for Rockford’s Family Peace Center. She credits local leaders like Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara for tackling the city’s problems head-on.

“What is so exciting about the family peace center is the right people are around the table, the right people are in that building. And Tom McNamara has had my cell phone, and my chief of staff’s cell phone, and my legislative director’s cell phone, and he’s not afraid to call and ask,” Bustos told 23 News.

While she knows her work during congressional sessions is essential, she believes it’s more important to listen to and represent the needs of her district. She says she’s secured more money for the region than any other house Democrat. Her office was also named the top office in both the House and Senate in delivering constituent services. However, she does have one regret.

“I really wish we could’ve bought the Amtrak route here from Chicago, and the same thing from Chicago to the Quad Cities, and the same thing from Chicago to Peoria,” Bustos said.

Now Bustos will pass the torch to Eric Sorensen and is confident he’ll continue the good work.

“We talk with them pretty much every day. And so, we want him to get off to a great start and want him to succeed wildly,” she said.

Bustos will be involved with the Council for Responsible Social Media after her term ends. She says what happened on the House floor on January 6th and seeing the harm lies can do, makes it essential to establish and follow proper social media practices.