ILLINOIS (WMBD) — After Tuesday night’s victory, Eric Sorensen is looking ahead to November.
Sorensen won the Democratic nomination for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, and is set to face off against Republican nominee Esther Joy King.
This comes after U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) announced her retirement.
Sorensen joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan for this week’s On the Record segment.
MS: You had a very crowded primary, Eric. What do you think helped you get the nomination?
ES: I think it was the turnout for people that voted for the person that has earned their trust over the course of 20 years. Being the meteorologist in Rockford and the Quad Cities for almost 20 years, to be the person that could be depended on. I really think a lot of people I’ve talked to, when they said the choice they were going to make, is filling in the circle for the person they can trust that would represent them in Washington.
MS: Now we’re looking towards November. You’ll be facing off against Esther Joy King. What’s your plan right now moving forward?
ES: Moving forward, it’s building the relationships. It’s scaling this operation. We know this is going to be a challenge going into November. The important thing for me is talking with people, listening with people, in what they want in their next representative. It’s building the organization that’s going to win and take us forward. It’s rallying the volunteers and building the campaign because we know the talking and listening is how we’re going to win.
MS: Let’s talk about the kind of campaign you plan to run. Many races have been filled with ads attacking their opponents. Others, not so much. What can we expect from you?
ES: The most important thing is to be able to get the message that science wins over politics. That’s what I hear most often when we talk with people. People have a refreshing feeling knowing that there’s someone that is guided by science and not a political ideology. Someone that’s able to talk about climate change on television that for many years, was able to focus on the science. Whether conservatives, or progressives were in the audience, they could trust me for that information. Then I think what’s important is speaking to the issues we’re facing right here in central Illinois. We need to talk about values. The things we all want to see here. That means connecting people to solutions. Lowering the cost of healthcare, combatting the rise in prices, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and making sure we re-secure reproductive rights for everyone in this State.
MS: Do you want to or plan to participate in debates against your opponent?
ES: I think dialogue is a great thing for us to be able to talk about issues and for people to understand and have the connection, not only with a person who they have the choice of voting for… but the choice of who will be representing the community. To make sure it is someone who can be trusted with the communication.
MS: If elected in November, what’s your day-one agenda in Congress?
ES: First thing in Congress is to be able to communicate. I am a science communicator. What I believe we need in Washington and what I hear, is people want someone to talk with them. I want to go to Congress to be able to listen and understand where we need communication and how we’re going to connect Washington with Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Rockford, and Sterling/Rock Falls. That’s number one. It’s also continuing to listen to the voters. To be able to have town halls. So I’m understanding the issues Illinoisans are facing today, and how the government can help solve those problems.
Sorensen also gave his reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn of Roe V. Wade.
ES: I think what happened with that decision was a catastrophe. I am a strong supporter of reproductive rights, I believe we should be lowering the barriers in healthcare and yes, abortion is healthcare. We need to be lowering those barriers not putting those in. We need to make sure that more people have access to good, quality healthcare. It means that people need to stand up and let their voices be heard on this issue.
Congresswoman Bustos sent the following statement congratulating Sorensen on his victory.
“Congratulations to Eric Sorensen on his victory tonight. Illinoisans deserve a representative who will fight for working families, help build our local economy and continue to lift up Midwestern voices. Eric will do that,” Bustos said. “This November will be a historic election. Simply put, our freedoms and democracy are on the line. While we were lucky to have a great crop of candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, now is the time to come together and work to help keep this seat blue in November. After serving this district for the past decade, I’m glad to see a community leader with deep roots in Illinois like Eric Sorensen win this election tonight. I look forward to working to make sure our communities have the leadership they deserve.”
WMBD’s Matt Sheehan has reached out to Sorensen’s opponent, Esther Joy King, and plans to do a full report speaking with her in the coming weeks.
The blue area is Illinois’ newly-drawn 17th Congressional District. In it includes most of Peoria, Bloomington/Normal, parts of the Quad Cities, and Rockford.