Illinois Congresswoman Bustos Gives Final Speech on the House Floor
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) gave her final speech on the House Floor, reflecting on her decade serving Northwest and Central Illinois in Congress. In her remarks, the Congresswoman thanked the constituents of Illinois’ 17th Congressional District for putting their faith in her for the last 10 years.
WATCH: Bustos Gives Final Speech on the House Floor
WATCH: Bustos Gives Final Speech on the House Floor
Congresswoman Bustos also took to the House Floor today to thank the members of her staff for their service over the years. A video of that speech can be found here.
Remarks from Congresswoman Bustos’ final House Floor speech can be found below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise to reflect upon a decade of service in Congress.
Ten years ago, when I was first elected, I jotted down a list of goals that I hoped I would accomplish while serving the 17th Congressional District of Illinois. As I was cleaning my office recently, I ran across that list again – a window into what I was thinking before I was even first sworn into office.
On that list: To build an exceptional constituent service program, to secure generous federal funding and support local projects, and to develop innovative and practical solutions to the real problems that people face every day.
Reading it, I realized I never lost sight of what I came to Washington to do.
Goal number one: To serve the people of Central, Northern and Northwest Illinois. That’s why I was so proud when my team was honored as the top Democratic office for constituent services in Congress.
Goal number two: To deliver funding to help our communities. Well, in 2021, I was the top House Democrat in bringing home federal community project funding.
And goal number three: to listen to the people I serve, and focus on solutions. Such as when I helped pass two farm bills and prepare for a third. Helped pass two surface transportation packages. Wrote, passed, and saw enacted, groundbreaking legislation to restore the rights of sexual assault and harassment survivors. And worked across the aisle to secure the largest investment in the Mississippi River since the Great Depression!
Each of these accomplishments speaks to who I have always looked out for.
Our family farmers, and the nearly ten thousand family farms that I represent. They are why I served on the House Agriculture Committee every year since I’ve been in Congress.
Our 90,000 labor households. That’s why I fought to make sure that we passed a bipartisan, once-in-a-lifetime generational investment in rebuilding our infrastructure.
And our working men and women. The people I met at every Supermarket Saturday who took a moment to chat in the grocery store aisles. And during 120 Cheri-on-Shifts! Which is what we call our own [version of job shadowing].
During my Cheri on Shifts, I’ve been a baker, a cattle auctioneer, a towboat operator and I even drove a Zamboni! Every Cheri-on-Shift gave me a firsthand view of how hard people work to support their families, and what they need from us here in Washington.
Like when Sarah Miller, in Galesburg, Illinois, reached out to me. The mother of two young children, Sarah’s drinking water had lead in it. But in order for her to afford to fix it, she would have to drop out of nursing school. So, I helped the city secure $4 million dollars in grants. And Sarah became one of several hundred families to have their solid lead water pipes replaced.
Listening to the stories of the people I serve has helped guide my work in Congress. But no one succeeds alone. Everything I have accomplished has been with the help and support of others.
So, I’d like to say thanks. Thanks to those who taught me what it means to lead.
To Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, always a true friend. To Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proved that even while navigating treacherous waters, we never have to lose our way. And to my mentor, Senator Dick Durbin, without whom I would not be standing here today.
When I was first elected, I was told it wasn’t possible to make friends in Washington. But I was lucky enough to find a group of truly best friends here. Thank to the Pink Ladies – Congresswoman Lois Frankel, Grace Meng, Annie Kuster, Julia Brownley and our Whip-Elect Katherine Clark – who are truly outstanding leaders for our nation.
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of team Bustos over the years. And to the most important part of my team, my family. My sister, Lynn. Our three: Tony, Nick, and Joey. Our daughters-in-law and grandchildren. Our families don’t sign up for the long hours and missed birthdays, but I have had their support every step of the way.
And thank you most to my husband, Gerry. Gerry and I first met when he was a rookie police officer, and I was a rookie police reporter. Two weeks ago, he retired after almost 40 years in law enforcement as the Sheriff of Rock Island County. He has stood by me all of these years.
Finally, I want to thank the people of the 17th Congressional District of Illinois. I am humbled that – for a decade – you put your faith in me. Thank you – I have been honored to be your voice here in Washington.