WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Bustos Takes on Leadership Position with House Democrats

Feb 24, 2017

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-IL) recently started her third term by taking on a bigger role in her party. She is one of the three co-chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee.

Bustos was elected to the position by her colleagues in the Democratic caucus of the U.S. House. The other two co-chairs are Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and David Cicilline (D-RI). The committee is tasked with connecting with voters and demonstrating why voters should choose Democratic lawmakers instead of Republicans.

"Everything else emanates out of that. If we grow jobs and we improve our economy, families are going to be okay. And I don't care where you live, families will be okay if that's what we focus on," Bustos said.

Bustos believes the Democratic party's jobs policies are stronger than those put forth by Republicans but Democrats have not done a good job of getting that message across, especially to people who live in small towns.  Bustos said she can help the party improve upon that because her district includes many small and rural farming communities 

"I represent a Congressional District that is in the Heartland, where ag is our biggest economic driver and where manufacturing is still our foundation. And that is something unique at our leadership table, when everybody else is coastal," Bustos said.

Bustos said the committee will conduct a listening tour across the country to find out why people who previously voted for Democrats voted for Republicans in last fall's elections.

Bustos said her increased role in the U.S. House is the reason why she will not seek the Democratic nomination for governor next year.  She mulled over the idea for months before deciding she would be more effective in Washington.

Even though she declined to challenge Republican Governor Bruce Rauner in next year's election, Bustos said his agenda has hurt Illinois residents, specifically seniors and children.  

Bustos made her comments at the Abingdon public library, where she dropped off donated books from the Library of Congress.  She visited other communities throughout her district while Congress took the week off from Washington D.C.