Breaking it Down: 17th District U.S. Representative Race

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:19 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The race to Congress heats up as Democratic incumbent Cheri Bustos faces off against Republican hopeful Esther Joy King to represent the 17th District in Washington.

“I had a lightbulb moment of, you know, with everything happening in our country, if I’m not standing up for what I believe in, what am I even doing? And I had to ask myself, ‘if not me, then who?’” said King.

“I know how important it is to bring resources back home; I’ve been in a position to do that. And I think when you look at most people sitting around that leadership team table, being people from the coasts, it’s very important to have that voice at the table and make sure that people from our parts are not forgotten about when we have these negotiations,” said Rep. Bustos.

With thousands of people across the Rockford region struggling to bounce back from the social and economic hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, both candidates say they are uniquely qualified to help in the effort.

“As we’ve negotiated the COVID relief packages, I have a seat at the table to make sure that our family farmers aren’t left out of that relief and have played a major role in that, and if you look at everybody in senior leadership, in the U.S. House of Representatives, there’s one Midwesterner at that table and that’s me,” said Rep. Bustos.

“What I’m so excited to do is to be in it with the people of Illinois 17th. I’m really excited to bring constituency services with my business background. Customer service is something that’s really important to me; it’s something that’s missing here in our representation right now. We deserve good constituency services,” said King.

With the general election just days away, Bustos and King look toward the future of the office and how their work can best serve their constituents.

“This campaign has become more of a movement, a representation of people wanting better representation. People are hungry, they want their government, our government to serve us, and not the people serving the government; it’s kind of flipped on its head right now. And so, I’m just honored to be a part of this,” said King.

“Whether I serve in the minority party, like I did for the first six years in office, or I’m in the majority party, like I am here for these last two years. But, despite whether you’re in the minority or majority, we have President Trump in the White House. We’ve got a Republican-controlled Senate. So, I’ve got to figure out if I’m going to be successful, how you navigate things by working together,” said Rep. Bustos.

If elected, King would begin her congressional career, while Bustos would serve her fifth term in office.

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