ROCK ISLAND – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) released her first ad ahead of the November election titled “Gold Star.” The ad tells the story of local Gold Star spouse Kylie Riney of Fairview, Illinois, who inspired Cheri to author and pass the bipartisan Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act, which was signed into law in December of 2018.
“When my husband Doug was killed in Afghanistan, I just knew I needed to be around the people that loved us the most, but our landlord just wouldn’t let us out of our lease,” Gold Star Spouse Kylie Riney said. “I didn’t choose to lose my husband, but I’m choosing to go home to be with family and they were penalizing me for it. Cheri Bustos went in with a mission of protecting Gold Star families. Cheri being there for our family has changed our lives.”
“When I first met Kylie and learned of her heartbreaking story, I knew something needed to be done,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “No Gold Star spouse should be faced with costly lease cancellation fees like Kylie was while grieving a loss so profound and simply trying to do what is best for their family. We must honor the sacrifices our military families make every day and that’s why I worked with members of both parties to ensure the Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act became law. I thank Kylie for sharing her story with me so we could see to it that our military families have the protections they deserve, and I hope this legislation honors the sacrifice of her late husband Sgt. Douglas J. Riney.”
Kylie’s husband, Sergeant Douglas J. Riney, served with the 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. While serving his second deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, he was killed in action on October 19, 2016 during a supply and training mission. Kylie was still living in Fort Hood with their two young children at the time.
To mourn her family’s loss, Kylie decided to move her family back to Illinois to be with loved ones, but her landlord in Texas would not allow her to break her lease without paying costly cancelation fees. After hearing Kylie’s story, Cheri wrote and passed the Gold Star Spouses Leasing Relief Act to prevent Gold Star families from facing this financial burden ever again. The legislation allows the spouses of fallen service members to terminate residential leases without penalty, and is now law.
Now in her fourth term representing Illinois’ 17th Congressional District Congresswoman Cheri Bustos is a leader in the fight to lower health care costs, rebuild our region’s infrastructure, help Illinoisans weather the COVID-19 pandemic and work to safely reopen, and deliver real results for hardworking families across Northwest and Central Illinois.