PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Democratic Primary for Illinois’ 17th Congressional District is one of the most highly-contested races for the June Primaries.

Angie Normoyle is one of the candidates who will appear on the Democratic ballot.

Normoyle joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan for On the Record this week’s segment.

Question: Give us a little background on who you are and why you chose to run for Congress.

“I am currently based in the Quad Cities. I live in Moline. I’ve been there for about the last 23 years. Raised my family there. I teach at Augustana College. I’ve been involved in local government. Those experiences prompted me to step into the race when the seat was open,” Normoyle said.

Question: Tell us about your time as a professor. What have you learned there that’s prepared you to run to be a Congresswoman?

“Communication is my area of study. I study decision-making and organizational communication. Hopefully, those skills will be useful in Congress. But really, the part of being a professor that has made a difference is the connection with our young people. Over time, I’ve seen how many young people, as opposed to when I first started my career, are starting to worry about the future. How am I going to finish up school and not be too deep in debt? Am I going to be able to find a job that supports me and perhaps a family? How will I afford a home? Healthcare?” Normoyle said. “Seeing the change over the last 20 years in our society and the worries our young people have, motivated me to step into politics because we can make things better. But we need to make some changes, so families can thrive in this community.”

Question: Student loans are a big topic right now. There’s a discussion about canceling them. What’s your stance on this?

“Already we’ve canceled student loans for those who were basically taken advantage of by for-profit colleges who weren’t delivering the product they said they were going to. We should continue with those types of circumstances. We also have some really effective programs for canceling loans when students go into public service. However, the way those are managed right now, sometimes the intent does not deliver,” Normoyle said. “So fixing those. Then the final thing I’d like to do is for the Pell grant. When it was introduced 50 years ago, it covered 80% of the cost of a 4-year education at a State level school. Over the years, those grants have not kept up. It’s now down to 30%. So the Pell grant strikes me as a great opportunity to increase that funding that’d assist our students.”

Question: This is a newly-drawn district. As you’ve been meeting constituents. What are their biggest concerns right now?

“They’re concerned about economic development. I’m from the Quad Cities, we just had a great bridge built. Those projects are fantastic for communities. They bring good-paying jobs, and they pay dividends from the business side of things too. It’s easier for people to get to work. The other thing people in this district are concerned about is small business. The ways those small businesses really weave themselves into the fabric of our communities, especially after the Pandemic, we’ve seen that’s so important, and it can be fragile. People want a representative in Congress that is interested in the needs of the community rather than paying attention to lobbyists for big companies,” Normoyle said.

Question: Let’s talk about your main priorities if elected to Congress. What are you hoping to accomplish?

“With what’s happened over the Pandemic and the situation in Ukraine right now. We are really coming to terms with the fact that we need to have more control over our supply chain. The 17th District is well-positioned for that. We have the transportation with the highways, trains, and the Mississippi River. Capacity with some of our manufacturing facilities,” Normoyle said. “We have the potential to capitalize on some of the green manufacturing in terms of energy. We do need to shift to more sustainable sources of energy, this district is perfectly positioned for that. And then, right here in the center of the district, we also have the Rock Island Arsenal. I think we can learn a lot of lessons from what they do, and the rest of the 17th can certainly be a supplier to that very important part of our defense.”

Question: There’s a lot of political discourse right now. Are you open to working with both sides of the aisle to accomplish goals?

“That’s a great question, and it’s the heart of local government. It’s easy to get distracted by the national messaging. When it comes down to it, if you’re on the County Board, your priorities are ‘How can we make things better right here at home?’ That does take working across the aisle. You’re working with your friends and neighbors and the people you know,” Normoyle said. “So even if you’re on different political parties, you really do learn to identify your underlying values, figure out the goals you’re trying to accomplish, and really work from there. That’s exactly the type of attitude I want to take to Washington.”

Normoyle joins a crowded Democratic Primary. Other candidates listed are Jonathan Logemann, Jacqueline McGowan, Linda McNeely, Eric Sorensen, Litesa Wallace, and Marsha Williams.

On the Republican side, candidates are Esther Joy King and Charlie Hemlick.

The primaries are June 28.