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WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) joined David Axelrod, former Chief Strategist and Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, for an interview on his podcast, “The Axe Files,” which was released today.


You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

Bustos discussed her upbringing in Illinois politics and her vision for the Democratic Party’s future. As the only member of elected House Democratic leadership from either the Midwest or a district won by President Trump, Bustos offered her unique perspective on how Democrats can better represent Americans from rural communities.


“We need to start focusing on what people want us to focus on. We need to stop going down all of these diversionary routes that President Trump leads us down, and we just need to stay focused on people and families and what is going to help them have hope for their own futures, whether they live in the rural Midwest or whether they live in one of the coastal, bigger cities,” Congresswoman Bustos said during the interview.  “I believe that we have the right policies. We need to keep talking about that.”


Bustos also offered her take on how she has been successful as a Democrat in a Congressional District that broke for President Trump in the 2016 election.


“How you find out that people are hurting is you go where they are… Don’t just go to the Democratic Fish Fry on a Friday night during Lent, but go to the supermarkets,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “I do something else we call Cheri on Shift, where I job shadow people, and when I’m doing that I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with a welder, or somebody’s teaching me to drive a forklift… I’m standing shoulder to shoulder with people, and I’m asking them… when was the last time you got a raise? Were you and your family able to take a vacation last year?”


After the 2016 elections, Bustos was elected by her colleagues to serve in leadership as the Co-Chair of theDemocratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC), which is tasked with developing a Caucus-wide message. She is working to ensure that the House Democrats’ agenda connects with rural and working-class Americans. In 2015, Bustos accepted a leadership post as a Senior Whip in the Democratic Party, where she uses her position to fight for policies that will advance American manufacturing, ensure women’s economic security and grow our middle-class.