We’d hoped our incumbent Illinois Quad-City congressman in the majority party could add a bit of heft to important Quad-City projects that have been on the community agenda for years.

Instead, Rep. Bobby Schilling settled in with an obstinate House majority, preferring to adopt party platitudes and stumbling badly on three important Quad-City issues.

On the Interstate 74 Mississippi River bridge, Amtrak service and the Thomson prison, Schilling flailed with conflicting statements that confounded community efforts.

Schilling had zero influence on his party leaders’ unreasonable opposition to purchasing the Thomson prison.

Perhaps that’s expected of a first-termer. But Schilling complicated things when he pitched a bid to cut the agreed-upon purchase price in half. That left-field maneuver confounded local efforts and didn’t seem to score him any political points.

Same thing on Amtrak, where his conflicting votes and statements followed decades of community efforts to win a rail link to Chicago.

His clumsy entree into the complicated Interstate 74 bridge negotiations hurt a similar long-term local effort.

Those successive fumbles pretty much expended our enthusiasm for the first-term candidate.

Consequently, we support Cheri Bustos, who runs with extensive, pertinent real-world experience. Bustos ascended from public relations work at Trinity Regional Health System to direct corporate communications for Iowa’s largest health system.

She won election to her town council and served admirably and openly, a credential we value for those seeking congressional office.

That service seems to galvanize her focus on jobs in our region with her emphasis on creating the new district’s manufacturing triangle, the Quad-Cities, Peoria and Rockford. With Deere, Caterpillar and Fiat (Rockford’s former Chrysler plant) all making major investments, Bustos’ strategy suggests a strong future for the 17th Congressional District.

Bustos' work a decade ago for the Quad-City Times was no factor in our consideration. Three of six editorial board members never worked with her. If news reporting was her sole experience, she couldn’t have earned this endorsement.

Instead, we endorse a candidate whose hard work in the private sector propelled her to the top of the corporate ladder. We endorse a candidate whose executive leadership in health care will improve, not simply vote repeatedly to eradicate health care reform, and whose commendable Quad-City public service demonstrates commitment and an ability to work with our community.

We endorse a candidate who can understand and effectively articulate a Quad-City agenda in Congress.

We support Cheri Bustos.