ABOUT RAY LARA

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Leading the Effort

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean.

Whether it’s been showing up at the grocery store almost every weekend for her “Supermarket Saturdays” to ask working families what they want her to fight for in Congress, her leadership running the House Democrats’ $250+ million organization to protect and expand our House Majority or the time she spent with her grandfather on his hog farm in rural Illinois, Cheri Bustos has always understood the importance of showing up and working hard. Today, as a senior member of House leadership, Cheri is both an ambassador for Heartland values in Congress and a tireless champion in the work to restore a strong and thriving Democratic Party in small towns and rural communities across America.

The daughter of Ann and Gene Callahan, Cheri’s story began in Springfield, Illinois. She learned the importance of being grounded in her community from her Mom, a preschool teacher and social worker, and the value of public service from her Dad, a longtime Chief of Staff to U.S. Sen. Alan Dixon, D-IL.

After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master’s in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Springfield, Cheri moved to the Illinois Quad-Cities. Early in her career as a journalist, she met her husband Gerry, then a rookie cop and now the Sheriff of Rock Island County.

In her first campaign for City Council in East Moline, Cheri knocked on every door in the community — twice — and won.

Born and Raised in IL

Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean.

After the 2016 election, when 206 counties nationwide flipped from voting twice for Obama to Trump, Cheri’s House colleagues recognized her strength where other Democrats struggled by electing her to her first leadership post. As Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Cheri helped develop the For the People legislative agenda of lowering health care costs, raising wages by rebuilding America and cracking down on corruption. For the People was widely credited with bringing clarity of purpose and message discipline to the Democratic Caucus at a critical time. It helped Democrats relentlessly focus on the issues that mattered most to the American people, leading up to the 2018 election and retaking the House majority. Since earning her gavel back, Speaker Pelosi continues to frame her legislative agenda around the For the People message.

During that same cycle, Cheri also ascended to a new leadership post at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) — Chairwoman of Heartland Engagement — where she mentored 16 candidates to victory from some of the most competitive Congressional Districts in the country.

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