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Bustos Seeks Women for Politics

Tamie Yost

U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos is recruiting women to run for office as Democrats after discovering last year that the party in many areas lacks candidates who are good ideological fits for the places they live.  The Democratic congresswoman told Illinois Public Media’s The 21st show today that she started her Build the Bench program after discovering that lack of good candidates during the last election cycle.  

Bustos says finding women to run for public office can be particularly challenging. She says women often express doubts that men will not.  Such as how to handle strong public criticism or family concerns.

“Hey, I’d like to talk with you about running, and I don’t care what level it is, for mayor or for Congress, or for city council. Typically a woman will first ask, ‘well, how is this going to impact my family?’”

Bustos led a series of boot camps to teach prospective candidates how to run and win. She says 12 eventual candidates were part of her boot camps. Eight won elections.  She calls that “amazing success.” Bustos represents Illinois’ 17th District. It includes parts of Peoria, Rockford and the Quad Cities.