Editorial: Bustos represented district well in Congress through five terms


Editorial Board

Former U.S. Congresswoman Cheri Bustos worked hard for residents in District 17 and addressed the needs of the area well. A strong communicator, she was accessible to her constituents.

The former journalist at the Quad-City Times served five terms in Congress and stepped down this year after deciding not to run for re-election in 2022.

Bustos spent much of her time here in Illinois listening to and working for constituents. 

One of the ways she connected with her district was through Cheri-on-Shift, where she met with business owners and employees throughout the 17th District and got a sense of what it was like to work those jobs. Among the jobs, she spot-welded, drove a forklift and processed carp from the Mississippi River during 120 Cheri-on-Shift visits.

Bustos was proud to be named the top Democrat office in the House and Senate in delivering constituent services. That designation came from the Congressional Leadership Foundation. That honor tracks with what we’ve seen during her tenure in Congress. 

Bustos, who served on the appropriations committee, lists as her top accomplishment bringing home funding for needed projects. 

Among her list of accomplishments was returning $55.7 million to the district during the 117th Congress for community project funding. Some notable projects during her tenure include: $829 million to update locks and dams, delivering $172 million for programming at the Rock Island Arsenal and a $24 million grant for East Moline’s downtown revitalization project. 

One of her proudest moments was on Jan. 6, 2021, when Congress returned to certify the results of the election after the attack on the Capitol. As the mob breached the Capitol and moved toward the House floor that day, Bustos and her colleagues, wearing gas masks, were evacuated.

“They were trying to kill us,” Bustos recalled.

After the rioters were cleared out, the House members returned through the mess and vandalism to session and voted to certify the 2020 election results.

One of the aspects we appreciated about Bustos was that she was seldom partisan and nearly always practical.

Bustos considers herself a moderate and a part of the new Democratic coalition. Illinois residents deserve a representative who will serve them rather than a political party. 

Toward that end, she sponsored a bill to end forced arbitration of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Now, forced arbitration agreements in any contract are voided if a claim is brought. This bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden, was supported by 113 Republicans.

We thank Cheri Bustos for her service and wish her well in future endeavors.

The Quad-City Times/Dispatch-Argus Editorial Board is made up of Publisher Deb Anselm, Editor Tom Martin and Community Member John Wetzel.

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January 7, 2023 at 08:15AM

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