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Republican attorney to challenge Cheri Bustos for U.S. congressional seat next year

Republican attorney to challenge Cheri Bustos for U.S. congressional seat next year

Esther Joy King

Esther Joy King is running for Congress as a Republican in Illinois' 17th District. 

An East Moline Republican will challenge U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, in the November 2020 election for the 17th Congressional District seat. 

Esther Joy King, an attorney and small-business owner, filed her statement of candidacy Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

King, 32, formally announced her candidacy Wednesday.  

"We deserve exceptional representation at the federal level," King said in a release Wednesday. "Our region can provide leadership and promote Midwestern sensibilities in the national conversation. With my experience of service and practical problem solving, I offer values-centered representation to each and every person in this district.

"I will promote a policy agenda aligned with the priorities and values of our congressional district," King said. "I will raise the standard for constituent services and open communication. Most of all, I will deliver more civility and truly bipartisan efforts to make government work better for the people of the Illinois 17th."

King is the daughter of Christian missionaries, and during her childhood, her family lived in a converted school bus, later moving to the U.S.-Mexico border. After graduating from college, King moved to Kabul, Afghanistan, where she served as an aid worker. 

King went on to earn her law degree and a master's of law in taxation from Northwestern University in Chicago. She began her legal career as an associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago. She was named to Crain's Chicago Business Magazine's annual "20 in their 20s" feature in May 2016, while she was a partner with Summerset Group Communications.

King also worked as former Gov. Bruce Rauner's liaison between the tech industry and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

In addition to working as an attorney, King founded her own marketing firm. 

King joined the U.S. Army Reserves as a member of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, leading to her relocation to the Rock Island Arsenal, where she recently was promoted to captain.


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