Durbin Honors Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ Congressional Tenure Ahead Of Her Retirement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor honoring Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ (D-IL-17) work in the U.S. House of Representatives ahead of her retirement at the end of the 117thCongress. In his remarks, Durbin highlighted Bustos’ commitment to her constituents. 

“Since Cheri was first elected in 2012, she has lived, breathed, and fought for every family in the 17th District. From providing the best constituent service in the House of Representatives, securing more funding for her District than any other Democrat in the House, Cheri quickly set herself apart as one of the bright leaders in our state’s history,” said Durbin.

Durbin spoke fondly of Bustos’ determination that helped her leap from city council to Congress.

“Cheri won her first election in 2007 for a seat on the East Moline City Council…A few years later, she called me and said, ‘I’m moving on up. I want to run forCongress.’ I’ll admit, my wife and I were surprised. Making the leap from city council to Congress is not for the faint of heart, but Cheri was an obvious natural,”Durbin continued. “It was a heartfelt campaign that started off on a shoestring. And that November, Cheri won a tough district by eight points.”

Durbin went on to describe the time and effort Bustos dedicated to understanding the needs and concerns of her constituents.

“During that first term, Cheri launched ‘Cheri-on-Shift,’ her practice of working alongside constituents at their jobs. In Cheri’s words, the ‘Cheri-on-Shift’ experiment gives her ‘a feel for what people do for a living, how they support their families, their struggles, why they take pride in their jobs.’ Over the past decade, Cheri has served drinks at the Golden Hen Café in Galena, planted soybeans with a farmer in Galesburg, and taken care of senior citizens at the Lifescape facility in Rockford,” said Durbin. “With every ‘Cheri-on-Shift,’ she would ask her constituents, ‘What do you need from me in Washington?”

Durbin also highlighted the lasting impact that Bustos made on her district, particularly in preserving and strengthening the Rock Island Arsenal.

“If you want to see the difference that can be made, look at what Cheri has done for the Rock Island Arsenal. When I entered the Senate, the Rock Island Arsenal was on its last leg…There were people at the Pentagon determined to close it. I was not going to let that happen. But I needed the right partner. That partner was Cheri. Today Rock Island Arsenal’s future is bright,” said Durbin. “We have worked together, with Tammy Duckworth, to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in funding and projects to upgrade that facility…It’s one of the many ways that Cheri has helped position Illinois to lead the future of manufacturing with union workers at the helm.”

As Durbin went on to note, Bustos also fought to ensure that survivors of sexual assault received justice.

“One of her final acts in Congress is one that will have impact across America fordecades to come. She passed a law to end forced arbitration for sexual assault survivors. After she steered that bill through the House, I had the honor working on it successfully as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. This law will ensure that every survivor can have their day in court. It wouldn’t have happened without Cheri Bustos,” said Durbin.  

Durbin concluded his remarks by wishing his colleague a fulfilling retirement.

“Loretta and I are amazed, but not one bit surprised, to see how far you have come. We’ve trusted you for a long time, when you were our babysitter for our kids, a graduate of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy, to one of the most accomplished legislators and constituent advocates in the House of Representatives,” said Durbin.

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.