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With less than a month before she leaves office, U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois, is making the rounds of local media to share the highlights of her 10 years in Congress. Among those highlights, she said, are securing funding for a range of priorities including the Rock Island Arsenal, and being recognized as one of two offices with top constituent services by the non-profit Congressional Management Foundation. Ms. Bustos, a Moline Democrat, decided not to seek a sixth term. She will be succeeded by Eric Sorensen, a Democrat and a meteorologist, who was elected as the new 17th District congressman last month. Ms. Bustos hasn’t said what she’ll do next, but dropped some hints in an interview Friday, Dec. 2, with the Quad-Cities Regional Business Journal. “I don’t have my full-time gig lined up,” she said, but added, “What I hope is that it will be a combination of being in Illinois and in Washington.” “The best way I can describe it right now is that I will have a portfolio that will include some things that will be, I hope, a way to make a difference in the nation and the world – and also a way that I could make a living.” She said she hasn’t committed to anything yet. As for the past 10 years in office, the former journalist and hospital executive pointed to funding secured for the Arsenal, one of the Quad-Cities’ largest employers, as an accomplishment. A member of a key House Appropriations panel for defense spending, Ms. Bustos has worked cooperatively with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, to advance several Arsenal initiatives. Just a few weeks ago, the two lawmakers were on the island to promote the installation’s work in 3-D manufacturing. She also noted her role in winning the $829 million the government has set aside for expanding the lock and dam system on the Mississippi River. The funding was a part of President Biden’s infrastructure law. The congresswoman did express disappointment that the passenger rail connection between Chicago and Moline still is in the starting blocks, even though the Obama administration approved $177 million for the initiative more than a decade ago in 2010. In 2016, Ms. Bustos pressured former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to recommit to the project at a time when there were doubts whether the federal funding could be maintained. However, significant construction still hasn’t begun. After the federal funding was first approved, former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn had predicted the service would begin toward the middle of the past decade. Ms. Bustos told the QCBJ last week that she still believes the project will come to fruition and that current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is still committed to it. For several years, state officials have said they are negotiating with the Iowa Interstate Railroad, the owners of the rail line leading from Chicago to Moline. Bustos said progress has been made, and that it will get done – eventually. “It’s not going to be overnight, but it is advancing. But there’s still more work that has to be done and freight rail has to be a partner in this,” she said. Elsewhere, Ms. Bustos has been successful along with other lawmakers in seeking to limit forced arbitration clauses and non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual assault and harassment. Earlier this year, President Biden signed a bill Ms. Bustos sponsored related to forced arbitration clauses. Also, the House recently cleared a bill related to non-disclosure agreements. The Senate passed the bill in September. Asked about the Quad-Cities’ current economic challenges, Ms. Bustos said it’s important that communities collaborate. “I hate seeing empty storefronts. There’s too many of them,” she said. “I love to see collaboration. And there are some communities throughout our congressional district that are really getting collaboration right. And … there’s still these arguments about when a new business comes to town, are they going to pick the Iowa Quad-Cities or the Illinois Quad-Cities. So, I think we really have to make sure that we’re looking for ways to lift up the entire Quad-Cities.” As for constituent services, Ms. Bustos pointed to the announcement last year by the Congressional Management Foundation that her office was one of two offices given its award for constituent services. The other office was that of Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska. The announcement was the foundation’s fourth installment of its Democracy Awards, in which it recognizes congressional offices in four different categories. Ms. Bustos said competition for the awards is intense, and that it recognized her office’s commitment to serving constituents. “That’s really what this job of being a member of Congress is all about, how you treat people at home,” whether it’s a constituents’ issue concerning Medicare, Social Security or some other government service, she said.