Decision 2022: The candidates for the US House of Representatives 17th District of Illinois

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25 News Now) - Two candidates are vying to become the next representative in Illinois’ 17th congressional district in a race analysts say could be key in determining control of the House of Representatives.

The two candidates are Republican Esther Joy King and Democrat Eric Sorensen, running to replace current Representative Cheri Bustos, who is not running for reelection after holding the seat for 10 years. The district was recently redrawn as a part of redistricting that goes into place this election cycle.

Policy and ideology separate these candidates, who have differing views on how to curb inflation and how they would address abortion rights in Congress. The two candidates met with 25 News for interviews this week, discussing a wide range of policy stances and their personal backgrounds.

“The top priority is helping our communities succeed,” Sorensen said. “It’s making sure we have the investment in sustainable jobs.”

“Working with our communities, our farmers, our ‘ag’ business across the state of Illinois to make sure that we have a really strong farm bill,” King said.

The candidates are split on the issue of abortion rights and the recent Dobbs decision to return abortion rights to the states. Sorenson says he would vote to make abortion rights apart of federal law.

“The federal government should have no place in determining how people make decisions on healthcare,” Sorensen said. “That should be with their families, with their partners, with their doctors... We should not be putting up barriers to peoples healthcare, and abortion is healthcare... and abortion is healthcare.”

King says she is pro-life and supports the Dobbs decision, bus she said she agrees with exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother. In our interview, King did not say whether she would support a larger abortion ban in Congress.

“It’s far too important of an issue to just hypothetically answer what, when the legislation comes up, I’ll certainly consider what is going on,” King said.

The candidates say their backgrounds make them the clear choice, King a U.S. Army Reserve Lawyer and Sorensen a meteorologist and climate expert.

“I am coming from a foundation of following data, and following values, versus my opponent who’s following the more extreme parts of her political ideology,” Sorensen said.

“He’s declared himself an expert,” King said. “He’s telling people saying, ‘This is what’s important. You should care about this.’ Climate change. I’m here to listen, and I’m asking people what matters to you.”

You can watch the full interviews with each candidate. They are posted below.