Congressional Candidate Meets with Knox Students

November 08, 2012

Congressional Candidate Cheri Bustos with Knox Democrats

Congressional candidate Cheri Bustos visited the Knox College campus a few days before the November 6 election, meeting with members of the Knox Democrats and answering students' questions about running for elective office.

Bustos, a Democrat from East Moline, Illinois, ran for the 17th Congressional District seat in Illinois. The seat has been held for the past two years by U.S. Representative Bobby Schilling, a Republican from Colona, Illinois, who sought re-election.

Election results showed Bustos won the election, and she will be sworn into office early next year.

The 17th Congressional District consists of a 14-county area in roughly the northwest quadrant of Illinois. It includes the Knox College campus and the rest of Galesburg, Illinois.

While at Knox on November 1, Bustos asked students about their majors and their hometowns, which included Springfield, Illinois; Houston, Texas; and Ridgefield, Connecticut.

"Boy, Knox attracts students from all over!" she said.

Bustos briefly described her personal, professional, and political background. She served as a member of the East Moline City Council from 2007 to 2011.

She and students also discussed various aspects of her congressional campaign, such as differences between her and Schilling on certain issues; fundraising; and the role of redistricting, the once-a-decade process of redrawing congressional boundaries to reflect population shifts.

Knox senior Sebastian Rouanet, a political science major from Springfield, Illinois, asked Bustos about the possibility of developing and attracting "renewable energy enterprises" in the region.

"Our district can be the epicenter for this," she responded, adding that, for example, a federal agriculture lab in Peoria is researching pennycress as a potential alternative fuel.

Being able to meet and speak with political candidates like Bustos is "relevant to our studies, especially in political science," Rouanet said after the meeting. "We talk (in classes) about campaign finance and the challenges people face in running against incumbents."