PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Making a second run for Congress, Esther Joy King is gearing up for the 2022 election.

She joined WMBD’s Matt Sheehan for Friday’s On the Record segment.

Sheehan: After college, you spent time in Kabul, Afghanistan serving as an aid worker. Not only that, but your grandparents immigrated there, your mother was born there. What was it like for you to see the withdrawal process of troops out of Afghanistan?

“I do have a long-standing connection with the country of Afghanistan, particularly with helping women get an education. My parents ran a school there. I was focused on helping the female students and teachers I knew who would have a horrible life under the Taliban regime,” King said. “When I went to bed the night before Kabul was invaded, I thought I had a few days to help people and figure out a solution. I woke up the next morning and the Taliban were swarming the streets of Kabul.

King touts her training in the military for her next moves.

“I jumped into action and worked my networks on the aid worker side, the people I knew in my time in Kabul. On the military side, from being a captain in the Army JAG Corps, and certainly the political side from being a candidate,” she said. “I called everybody I knew. Who do you know? How can we get into contact with anyone on the ground? Through that effort, I was able to help save 51 American citizens, green card holders, and young female high school students.”

Sheehan: The 2022 election is roughly a year away. What’s the focus of your campaign right now?

“It’s easy to think that’s far away, but when I’m out talking to people, they’re concerned,” King said.

King blamed the Biden Administration, saying they’re creating “crisis after crisis after crisis.”

“Whether it’s at the gas pumps, or at the border. The immigration crisis that didn’t exist 10 months ago and now it’s on us. It’s affecting our lives, whether it’s through the drugs flowing across or the increase in immigrants overwhelming the systems in our country,” King said.

Sheehan: You’ve mentioned the communities you would serve as facing pressures of inflation.

“People are concerned if they’ll be able to afford their gas and meals right now. I was just talking with a restaurant owner. They just told me the amount of chicken that used to cost $30 now costs $70. This restaurant owner was worried about being able to stay in business due to inflation,” King said.

Sheehan: You say there’s a need for election reform in Illinois. What does that look like?

“It’s heartbreaking to think that even one American thinks their vote doesn’t matter because of something that happened illegally or even just mistakes made in the election process,” King said. “We need to have voter IDs in our voting process. That’s supported by an overwhelming amount of Americans.”

King also said she wants Illinoisans to be more involved in the process by being election judges and poll watchers.

In next week’s On the Record, Sheehan speaks with the latest gubernatorial candidate, Jesse Sullivan.