Bustos Events Focus on Health Care, Veterans, Education, Local Economy

Washington – Last week, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) visited all 14 counties across Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, traveled over 900 miles, held 18 events and meetings, and announced more than $25 million in federal funds for the region.

“I always say we’re given two ears and one mouth for a reason, and we must use them proportionally,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “That’s why last week I traveled over 900 miles and visited all 14 counties in the district to hear directly from hardworking men and women across our region. I’m committed to delivering real results for Illinois families like lowering health care costs, improving access to education, supporting our veterans, strengthening the local economy and beyond. I look forward to returning to Congress to continue to give Illinoisans a voice at the table.”

Focusing on Health Care

Throughout the week, Congresswoman Bustos held several events focused on health care. In Rockford, she convened a roundtable discussion on Black maternal health with Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14) – Co-Chair of the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus – to explore local and state approaches to address maternal health in the African American community. Congresswoman Bustos, a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, has introduced the Social Determinants Accelerator Act, which would provide grants to local communities to fight social factors that lead to health problems, including high maternal health mortality rates.

In Peoria, Congresswoman Bustos hosted another roundtable discussion focused on the dangers of vaping with representatives from Peoria Schools, the Peoria County Health Department, OSF Health Care and members of the community that have been impacted by this issue. Recently, Congresswoman Bustos introduced the bipartisan Resources to Prevent Youth Vaping Act that would allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct stronger oversight of the e-cigarette industry and increase awareness of the danger of e-cigarettes.

Then, in Lewistown, Congresswoman Bustos visited Spoon River Towers Senior Home to talk about the need to protect Social Security and Medicare, and the importance of lowering prescription drug prices. In December, Congresswoman Bustos helped pass the Lower Drug Costs Now Act to rein in skyrocketing prescription drug prices and expand Medicare coverage.

Supporting Our Veterans

Congresswoman Bustos also visited with local veterans at American Legion Post 298 in Sterling and American Legion Post 121 in Aledo, where she delivered homemade Valentine’s Day cards that were sent to her office as part of her seventh annual Valentines for Veterans program.

In July, Congresswoman Bustos helped pass the LEGION Act, which was signed into law and extends American Legion membership eligibility to veterans who served in unrecognized times of war since World War II. As a congressionally chartered organization, the American Legion was previously limited to granting membership to veterans who served during conflicts formally recognized by Congress.

As a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Bustos secured provisions in year-end funding bills to support local veterans. Included were requirements that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) study rural veterans’ access to care and expand telehealth and broadband deployment in rural areas. Additionally, the Congresswoman helped secure a $5 million pilot program to address transportation obstacles faced by rural veterans. The bill also includes $9.4 billion for mental health services for veterans and $222 million for suicide prevention outreach activities.

Putting Education First

As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the Department of Education, Congresswoman Bustos visited Head Start classes in both Oquawka and Monmouth to support early childhood education.

The Congresswoman also met with international students at Augustana College and delivered books from the Library of Congress as part of the Surplus Book Program to Galena Public Library. Congresswoman Bustos typically picks children’s books to encourage young students to develop a lifelong passion for reading and learning.

Investing in our Local Economy

Last week, Congresswoman Bustos announced approximately $25 million in federal funds for the region. First, she announced nearly $23 million in total federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Then, the Congresswoman announced over $2.5 million from the Department of Transportation for the Chicago Rockford International Airport and met with the director of the Quad City International Airport.

In Geneseo, Congresswoman Bustos supported local small businesses when she visited shops and greeted store owners along Main Street with Mayor Carroll-Duda and other local leaders. In Lena and Pekin, the Congresswoman walked the aisles of local supermarkets to hear what was on the minds of Illinoisans. Finally, Congresswoman Bustos presented a Congressional Record to the Village of Williamsfield to commend them on receiving the Governor’s Hometown Cup Award.