Millennials battle for Illinois House seat

ABC News' Averi Harper spoke with several millennial candidates vying to fill retiring Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos' seat this November, as they hope to bring younger voices to Capitol Hill.
5:48 | 06/29/22

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Transcript for Millennials battle for Illinois House seat
TURNING NOW TO MIDTERM ELECTIONS AS DEMOCRATS TRY TO HOLD ON TO THE HOUSE KNOW THIS NOVEMBER. THEY'RE FACING A WAVE OF RETIREMENTS AND CONGRESS THAT WILL MAKE THAT JOB A LOT MORE CHALLENGING. AND AS WE FOUND IN ONE ILLINOIS HOUSE RACE, REPUBLICANS ARE HOPING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOME OPEN -- TO BRING NEW VOICES TO CONGRESS AS THEY LOOK TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF THE HOUSE. HERE IS ABC'S -- >> WE CAN FIRE NANCY PELOSI. >> THIS IS AFTER TROY KING, A REPUBLICAN WHO NARROWLY LOST HER 2020 CONGRESSIONAL BAD TO ILLINOIS CONGRESSWOMAN -- BUT THE FIVE TERM INCUMBENT IS NOW ONE OF 32 DEMOCRATS NOT RUNNING FOR REELECTION IN THE HOUSE. >> RETIREMENTS ARE A PART OF THE NATURAL CYCLE. >> SO, WITH MOMENTUM BEHIND THE REPUBLICAN PARTY GOING INTO NOVEMBER, KING IS BACK AT IT WITH HER EYES SET ON VICTORY. >> WE'VE CAME SO CLOSE LAST TIME. WE KNEW WE WERE GOING TO HAVE A GREAT SHOT AT WINNING IN THE 2022 ELECTION. >> THE 35-YEAR-OLD IS A PART OF A WAVE OF MILLENNIAL CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES, VYING FOR A CHANCE TO BRING THEIR IDEAS TO WASHINGTON, WHERE ELDER STATESMAN DOMINATE ON CAPITOL HILL. >> AS A YOUNG PERSON, BUT I BELIEVE I BRING TO THE TABLE, I BELIEVE I BRING ENERGY AND MOTIVATION AND PASSION AND CREATIVE IDEAS. BUT HOW DO I BRING THOSE ELEMENTS TO THE TABLE IN PARTNER WITH THE WISDOM AND EXPERIENCE AND KNOW-HOW OF GENERATIONS THAT ARE OLDER THAN ME AND REALLY BUILD BETTER OUTCOMES EACH GENERATION IS BRINGING WHAT WE ARE GOOD AT AND WE HAVE LEARNED AND WHAT OUR LIFE EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT US. THEN, WE CAN CREATE EVEN BETTER POLICY. >> KING IS AN ATTORNEY WHO GREW UP ON THE MEXICAN SIDE OF THE SOUTHERN BORDER. HER HUSBAND -- PARENTS WERE MISSIONARIES AND RAISE HER WITH HER SIBLINGS. >> WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT A PATHWAY FOR CITIZENSHIP, YOU TALK ABOUT COMPASSION. YOU TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE U.S. IS A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS. THAT EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO AS A CHILD SHAPE THE WAY THAT YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? >> YES, CERTAINLY. IT CERTAINLY DOES SHAPE WHO I AM. THE AMERICAN COMMUNITIES ARE OVERBURDENED BY JUST THE INFLUX AND THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING ACROSS OUR BORDER. BUT MORE SO, GROWING UP ON THE BORDER, GETTING A PERSPECTIVE ALSO FOR THE PEOPLE THEMSELVES, THE PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING ACROSS. THEY DO HAVE AN AMERICAN DREAM. THEY COME HERE TO MAKE THEIR LIVES BETTER. BUT RIGHT NOW, THEY ARE BEING HUMAN TRAFFICKED. AND OUR SOUTHERN BORDER IS BEING CONTROLLED BY DRUG CARTELS. >> KING IS ALSO AN ARMY RESERVIST AND SPENT TIME WORKING IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE U.S. TROOP WITHDRAWAL LAST AUGUST, SHE HELPED EVACUATE DOZENS OF AFGHANS. -- >> I WAS IMPASSIONED AND HAD FIRE IN MY BELLY BEFORE, BUT GOING THROUGH THAT EXPERIENCE AND HELPING SAVE LIVES BECAUSE OF THE MISTAKES OF OUR ADMINISTRATION, I WENT FOR BEING ON FIRE TO SUPERCHARGED. I AM FIGHTING FOR OUR COUNTRY. I AM FIGHTING FOR BRINGING ACCOUNTABILITY TO WASHINGTON, D.C. AND THAT REALLY MATTERS. >> SHE WILL FIRST HAVE TO DEFEAT A SINGLE GOP OPPONENT IN THE PRIMARY. SHE IS AN OVERWHELMING FAVORITE IN THE RACE. THEN, SHOULD FACE THE WINNER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, WHERE THE FIELD IS CROWDED. FORMER LOCAL METEOROLOGIST ERIC SORENSON IS ONE OF THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES CONSIDERED A FRONT RUNNER. >> AFTER 22 CAREER AS A WEATHERMAN, SOME THINGS STAY WITH YOU. >> AFTER LIVING WEATHER REPORTS FOR YEARS, THE 46-YEAR-OLD SAYS HE WANTS TO DELIVER CHANGE FOR THIS AREA'S VOTERS. CLIMATE CHANGE AND HOW IT IMPACTED THIS RURAL PART OF ILLINOIS IS THE CENTRAL FOCUS OF HIS CAMPAIGN. >> WHEN FOLKS ARE LOOKING AT THE RISING COST OF THINGS LIKE HOUSING, GAS, FOOD, THAT CLIMATE CHANGE MIGHT NOT FALL AT THE TOP OF THE LIST. -- >> WE HAVE LEARNED HERE THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS A TOP ISSUE FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE DISTRICT. AND IT IS THE TORNADOES THAT ARE HAPPENING IN JANUARY AND NOVEMBER. IT'S THE FACT THAT SEVEN OF OUR TOP TEN -- HAVE HAPPENED SINCE THE GREAT FLOOD OF 1993. AND THEY KNOW ABOUT THIS BECAUSE THEY HAVE HAD SOMEONE ON TELEVISION THAT HAS TALKED TO THEM ABOUT IT. THAT HAS BEEN ME. >> HI, EVERYBODY. JONATHAN HERE. MY WIFE THERE AND I ARE ABOUT TO HEAD OUT FOR ANOTHER SCHOOL DAY AS TEACHERS. >> ANOTHER CANDIDATE IS JONATHAN -- TEACHER FROM ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS. HE IS ALSO A 35 IRANIAN -- MILLENNIAL PARENT WITH YOUNG CHILDREN. >> SAY, HAVE A GOOD DAY. OH MY GOSH. WE HAVE TO FEW PARENTS OF LITTLE CHILDREN HERE IN WASHINGTON. THAT PERSPECTIVE OF BALANCING EVERYTHING. GENERATIONAL DIVERSITY IS IMPERATIVE AND BRINGING DIFFERENT VOICES AND SEEING THE ISSUES THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FACE. I'M A TEACHER. MY WIFE IS A TEACHER. WE FACE THESE ISSUES TOO. I THINK BRINGING THAT PERSPECTIVE TO WASHINGTON IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY MUCH NEEDED. >> WHILE THE DISTRICT WAS WON A DEMOCRATIC SCHAUF -- IT HAS SHIFTED BREAD. MANY COUNTIES WITHIN THE DISTRICT GOING FOR TRUMP IN 2016 AND 2020. AND WITH THE INCUMBENT RETIRING, EXPERTS SAY THIS RACE WILL BE A TOSS-UP IN NOVEMBER. IT IS A TURNING TIDE THAT KING IS HOPING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. >> IT'S AN AREA THAT PROBABLY VOTED DEMOCRAT 20 YEARS AGO BECAUSE THEIR GRANDPARENTS VOTED DEMOCRATS, THEIR PARENTS VOTED DEMOCRAT. THEIR UNION BOSSES TELL THEM TO VOTE DEMOCRAT. WHEN THEY REALIZE THAT THESE VALUES DON'T ALIGN WITH WHAT WE BELIEVE AND WE GET TO KNOW THEM, WE GO TO CHURCH. WE LOVE HUNTING AND SPORTSMANSHIP AND WE SUPPORT THE SECOND AMENDMENT HERE IN WESTERN ILLINOIS. THOSE VOTERS HAD STARTED VOTING REPUBLICAN

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