United States House, 17th Congressional District of Illinois
Issues: Job Creation, Agriculture, Medicare & Social Security, Affordable Health Care, Energy, Education, Government Reform, 2nd Amendment Rights
Cheri Bustos is 100% pro-choice and has been endorsed by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. Cheri Bustos knows that women don't turn to politicians for advice about birth control, mammograms, or cancer screenings. She believes that government should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions.
Cheri was born in Springfield, Illinois, in a home with a lot of love, learning from her parents at an early age the importance of hard work, community and helping others. Cheri’s mother was a social worker and pre-school teacher; her father a journalist and public servant. She has worked since the age of 10, her first paid job selling tacos and lemonade shake-ups at the Illinois State Fair. Before even that, she delivered the morning newspaper at 5 a.m. when her older brother, Danny, traveled for his weekend sporting events.
Cheri moved to the Quad-Cities more than 25 years ago to continue her career in journalism, reporting on crime, city government, health care and other issues of importance. Cheri isn’t afraid of taking on the tough issues and was honored over the years with many statewide journalism awards, and a national award, for her in-depth, investigative reporting.
Cheri broke many stories of corruption and greed in government, including: the practice of a police department withholding arrest reports of prominent and politically connected people; a fire chief who made a practice of submitting fraudulent restaurant receipts for reimbursement; and a township official who was investigated and reprimanded by a grand jury and state’s attorney as a result of Cheri’s research into his unethical spending.
Cheri also worked in community relations and communications for health care providers. She served as the Vice President of Public Relations and Communications at IHS, the nation’s fifth largest nonprofit, nondenominational health system in the nation, with more than 20,000 employees and nearly $3 billion in annual revenue. Prior to her work at IHS, Cheri served as the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for Trinity Regional Health System in Rock Island, Illinois.
Cheri’s sister-in-law, Barb, died more than a year ago without health insurance. Barb and her husband both worked full-time but couldn’t afford health insurance. When Barb got sick, she couldn’t afford the most effective cancer treatment she needed. Even those with insurance aren’t immune. A few months later Cheri’s brother, Danny, died, leaving a wife and two daughters. He had a good job and was fully insured. Yet his health plan wouldn't cover his treatment because he had cancer that required an experimental drug. Cheri will fight for people like Barb and Danny. They are a major reason why she is running for Congress.
Cheri is currently President of the board of directors of the Women’s Connection, one of Illinois’ largest women’s membership organizations. She is a past volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters-Quad-Cities; Junior Achievement of the Heartland in the Quad-Cities; Two Rivers YMCA in Moline, Illinois; and United Way of the Quad-Cities Area, where she served on the Community Investment Committee.
After working in journalism and during her career in health care, Cheri decided to serve as a strong, independent voice for the community of East Moline. She served as an Alderwoman on the City Council in East Moline, Illinois. Her top priority – economic development – led to her founding and chairing the East Moline Downtown Revitalization Committee. Evidence of her success is seen in a more vibrant downtown area where dilapidated buildings have been demolished to make room for new development such as a Community Health Care clinic, now under construction. She is also a past member of the East Moline Citizens Advisory Committee and the East Moline Plan Commission.
Cheri earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her master’s degree in journalism from University of Illinois at Springfield. She also attended Illinois College, Jacksonville, where her parents and son are graduates. Cheri was honored to be inducted into the Illinois College Sports Hall of Fame for participation in volleyball and basketball.
Cheri’s husband, Gerry, is a captain with the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Department and is the founder and commander of the Quad-City Bomb Squad. They have three sons, Tony, Nick and Joey, a daughter-in-law, Amanda, a grandson, Keiton and a granddaughter, Briley.
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This post was created by Planned Parenthood Illinois Action (PPIA). PPIA is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL).
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