The only Midwesterner in Democratic House Leadership stresses the importance of listening to, and focusing on, hardworking families
MOLINE - Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos released the first ad of her reelection campaign. A long-form web ad, entitled “Cheri on Shift,” shows how Congresswoman Bustos has made listening to, and walking in the shoes of, hardworking families from across her district a signature focus of her work in office. Bustos has held more than 70 “Cheri on Shift” job shadowing events since becoming a member of Congress. A shorter version of “Cheri on Shift” will be running on tv across the 17th Congressional District soon.
“You can’t learn about the challenges facing hardworking families by sitting behind a desk all day, that’s why I’ve made it a priority to walk in the shoes of working folks to understand what they’re going through,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to stand with the hardworking men and women who make the heartland the best place in the world. If Democrats are successful in earning back the trust of the American people during this upcoming election, we’re going to fight to lower health care costs, raise wages and root out the corruption that’s infected Washington.”
Bustos, who represents a largely rural, blue-collar district that swung 18 points from President Obama in 2012 to President Trump in 2016, is currently the only member of Democratic House Leadership from the Midwest. Despite Trump winning the district, Bustos won reelection by 20 points and has been frequently pointed to as a model for how Democrats can win back swing seats across the Midwest. Bustos also holds a post at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee where she serves as the Chair of Heartland Engagement to advise candidates across 12 states on how to build winning campaigns.
Additional Background on Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
"No Democrat in the House of Representatives did what Cheri Bustos did last November. She wasn’t the sole member of her party to win in a congressional district Donald Trump also took—there were 11 others—but she was the only one to post a 20-point landslide, and she did it in agricultural, industrial, blue-collar northwestern Illinois... If Democrats are going to wrest control of the House from Republicans, argue many party strategists, it’s going to happen in large part by doing more of whatever it is Bustos is doing three hours west of Chicago in her nearly 7,000-square-mile district of small towns and soybean fields."
- Politico Magazine, May 12, 2017
Now in her third term serving the hardworking families of Illinois' 17th Congressional District, Cheri Bustos is the only Midwesterner in Democratic House Leadership. After the 2016 election, she was elected to serve as the Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee where she's played a leading role in developing the Democrats' Better Deal Economic Agenda as well as their For The People closing argument for the 2018 cycle.
A firm believer that the path to the majority runs through the Midwest, the DCCC created a new post for Bustos in the 2018 cycle where she serves as the Chair of Heartland Engagement. In this capacity, Bustos is helping guide candidates in 12 hotly contested states where a new Democratic Majority will come from.
In January 2018, Bustos published Hope from the Heartland, a detailed report based on interviewing 72 Democratic "survivors" from eight Midwestern states. Based on interviews with these survivors, who were primarily state and local officials from rural or blue-collar districts, Bustos shared detailed lessons from those who have won despite the Republican wave elections of 2010, 2014 and 2016.
Back in Illinois, Cheri also runs an all-day candidate bootcamp called Build the Bench. With a 71 percent win rate, Build the Bench has been billed as a national model for candidate training programs. In a series of articles profiling Build the Bench, the HuffPost wrote Cheri Bustos "started a boot camp for training women and people of color to run for office. It’s working."
One common theme runs through all of Cheri Bustos work - Success starts by showing up, listening, and fighting for the values that unite us. This is why Cheri has kept a relentless focus on reducing the cost of health care and prescription drugs, advancing policies that will create more good-paying jobs, strengthening our agricultural economy and cleaning up the corruption that prevents real change from happening in Washington.
Born and raised in Illinois, Cheri worked as a reporter for nearly two decades. Later, she worked at one of the nation's largest non-profit, non-denominational health systems in the nation - before, during and after passage of the Affordable Care Act. Before running against, and defeating a sitting Republican Congressman in 2012, Bustos served on the East Moline City Council.
Cheri lives in Moline with her husband, Gerry, the Sheriff of Rock Island County. They have three grown sons and two grandchildren.