Birthdate: Oct. 17, 1961
Birth Place: Springfield, IL, United States
Residence: East Moline, IL
District: District 17
Cheri Bustos was born in Springfield, Ill., and now resides in East Moline. Her father was a journalist and her mother was a teacher. She earned a bachelor's in political science from the University of Maryland-College Park and a master's in journalism from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
She worked as a reporter and editor for the Quad-City Times for nearly two decades covering crime, city government and health care, among other issues.
Bustos later worked as a director for Trinity Regional Health Systems in Rock Island, becoming vice president of public relations at IHS, one of the largest nonprofit nondenominational health systems in the nation.
In 2007, she was elected alderwoman on the East Moline City Council. She stepped down in 2011 to run for Congress.
Cheri's husband, Gerry, is a captain with the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department. They have three sons.
Cheri Bustos said she is running for Congress for mainly one reason: fair health care for all.
Her older brother, who died a few months before she announced her campaign in 2011, was diagnosed with cancer and, despite being fully insured, could not get the treatment he needed because it was deemed experimental.
"He was my big brother and he was only 52," she said. "These are stories that are all too familiar."
Bustos, a former journalist turned health care executive, has portrayed herself as an average person wanting to get equitable health care for all.
"What we need are more every day people who are raising families on two incomes, who clip coupons before they go to the grocery store and who have to balance their checkbooks," she said.
Bustos has received high-profile endorsements, including one from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin who said he's known her family since she was a young girl.
She faces first-term U.S. Rep. Bobby Schilling, a tea party candidate and pizzeria owner, who was the first Republican to win the Democratic-leaning district since 1982.
Like other Democrats challenging first-year Republicans, Bustos has tried to paint Schilling as extreme.
"Congressman Schilling went to Washington and his priorities got turned around," she said in a statement. "He is trying to cut spending the wrong way and asking seniors and Illinois middle class families to give up Medicare while protecting tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil."
Source: Associated Press