Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

Representing the 17th District of Illinois
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Biography

Cheri Bustos

Cheri Bustos considers it a privilege to represent Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, to which she first won election in November 2012, and an honor to serve the hardworking families of Northwest and Central Illinois as their voice in Washington.

During her time in office, Cheri has focused on job creation, strengthening our economy and building a stronger middle class. She has been a relentless advocate for veterans and for working women and families, and she has worked with Democrats and Republicans on common sense solutions to cut government waste, fraud and abuse in order to protect Medicare and Social Security.

Cheri is a leader in the “Make it in America” initiative to increase jobs here at home and led an effort to ensure American flags purchased with federal dollars are 100% made in America. She’s also introduced legislation to make college and workforce development programs more affordable and accessible by increasing flexibility for Pell Grant recipients. As part of her focus on manufacturing, she worked to bring the first-of-its-kind Digital Manufacturing Lab to Illinois, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs across the state.

As a Member of the House Agriculture Committee, she worked across the aisle to pass the first long-term Farm Bill in years. Through her service on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, she is focused on investing in our region’s networks of roads, bridges, rail lines, airports and waterways.

Cheri was born in the Illinois state capitol of Springfield into a family that taught her the importance of hard work, caring for others and public service. 

While working as a young reporter in the Quad-Cities, Cheri met a rookie cop named Gerry Bustos who she fell in love with and married. They raised three sons together in East Moline, in the same house where they still live today.

Throughout her career in journalism, Cheri used her pen to help her community. She uncovered numerous stories of corruption and greed in government, winning awards for her work on behalf of the public interest.

Cheri eventually left journalism to work for one of the nation’s largest nondenominational, non-profit health care systems. Here, she helped the disadvantaged navigate the health care system and worked to improve the quality of health care available to area families.

Cheri has long been active in her community and served on numerous nonprofit boards and as the President of the Women’s Connection, one of Illinois’ largest women’s organizations. In 2007, Cheri’s commitment to public service and desire to further give back to the community led her to run for local office.

Cheri was elected to serve on the City Council in East Moline for two terms and made her top priority economic development. She ran for Congress in 2012 to continue to focus on building a stronger economy and middle class. 

Cheri earned a Bachelor’s Degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master’s Degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Springfield. She also attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, where both her parents and son graduated. An accomplished basketball and volleyball player, Cheri was inducted into the Illinois College Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.


For a copy of Congresswoman Bustos' full biography and a high resolution photo, please see Rep. Cheri Bustos' Media Kit.