After 10 years in Congress, Representative Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) Announced on Friday that she would not stand for election in 2022.
“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election after completing this term,” Bustos said in a video statement first obtained by HuffPost. “It will be a new decade, and I have a feeling it’s time for a new voice.”
It’s unclear what Bustos plans to do next.
In an interview on Friday, Bustos told HuffPost that there was nothing in particular about his decision to leave. She said she tended to make big changes every 10 years – she worked as a journalist and then as an editor for about two decades, then in the healthcare industry for 10 years – and felt it was time to another change.
The birth of her second grandchild last month brought her whole family together for the first time in a long time, she said, and really affected her. The day they got together, she sat down with her three sons and her husband to talk about her future.
Sometimes being so separated “can be more difficult for families than members,” Bustos said, citing missed baseball games and cut short dinners due to the level of hard work required of a congressman.
Here is his video statement announcing his decision not to stand for re-election:
Bustos probably could have held his seat. Illinois’ 17th Congressional District “leans toward Democrat,” according to The Cook Political Report, and she has comfortably won all of her re-elections, though her closest run came in 2020.
In 2016, she was one of the few House Democrats to win in a district that voted for President Donald Trump. She didn’t just win either – she won in a 20-point landslide. She is one of the remaining seven Democrats in Trump Districts.
But the region Bustos represents is in Republican fashion, and the timing of his retirement announcement will come in handy for Democrats in Illinois as they begin the congressional redistribution process. Democrats have full control over the redistribution in her state, and now they can redesign the current Bustos district to make it friendlier to Democrats without forcing her out of her seat.
The Illinois congressman has held several leadership positions on the Congressional Democratic Campaign Committee, which helps elect Democrats to the House. She helped recruit new candidates and turn some Republican seats into Democratic seats in the 2016 election cycle. In the 2018 cycle, she oversaw the DCCC’s efforts to boost Democrats in the Midwest.
Bustos was ultimately elected chairman of the DCCC for the 2020 election cycle. Democrats stood in the House in November but lost seats, so Bustos resigned his post after the election. President Nancy Pelosi (D-California) then appointed her chair of the Democratic House steering committee.
Read Bustos’ full statement announcing his retirement:
My North Star has always been to serve my community, achieve real results and build a better future. As I turn every corner of every decade of my life, I take the time to reflect and assess what my next chapter might bring. This is how, 10 years ago, I decided to run for Congress. And that is why, today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election after completing this term.
It has been an honor to be a voice for our family farmers, our working families, those struggling to afford health care and many more. Every time I have been to Washington, I have brought these voices with me to uplift our region and bring about real and lasting change.
From helping Gold Star families and wounded veterans get the help they need after serving our country, to increasing rural broadband access, to ensuring everyone world has the resources to be competitive in our modern economy, replacing toxic lead water pipes, I have always worked everywhere. the driveway to provide solutions to Illinois families. I have had the greatest honor to accomplish this work and I am proud of the progress we have made together.
But know this: our work is not done. This happens not only in convention halls, but also in the aisles of our small town grocery stores, in our factories and on family farms. Although I will not be in Congress after January 2023, I will be here to advance the needs of our communities for the remainder of my term.
Thank you for your trust, support and friendship all these years.
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