About the Candidate
Name: Eric Sorensen
DOB: March 18, 1976
Hi there. My name is Eric Sorensen and I’m a Democrat and meteorologist running for Congress in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District.
For 20 years, I served as a chief meteorologist in Rockford and the Quad Cities. And being a meteorologist is about protecting our communities and keeping people safe. My job is to tell the truth every day. Some days it was just to remind people to grab an umbrella. Other days it was communicating information so my community could stay safe through flash floods, blizzards, and tornadoes.
And through all of it, I worked for the people in the community, not the TV station. It wasn't just being trusted for severe weather either. I was one of the first meteorologists in the country to communicate climate change, connecting the people right here to what they were seeing outside and the climate. And I heard back from progressives and conservatives in my audience, and they reached out and they said, “Eric, thanks for telling us this. I trust you with the information.” And I became the authority on Rockford's number one television station, and then the Quad City's number one station.
And that's why I'm running. I want to continue to be the trusted voice in our community. I want people to know their member of Congress. I want it to be someone that will continue to care about them. We need someone who knows how to talk with people, even if there's going to be a disagreement. And I want to stand in Congress with the foundation of science and help communicate the challenges that we face.
And it's not just climate change. It's reproductive rights, protecting the right to vote, creating good-paying jobs, and making sure that everyone has quality and affordable healthcare. And electing me, we can make history together as the state of Illinois has yet to elect an LGBTQ member of Congress. We will do that right here in Illinois’ 17.
Thank you so much for watching. I invite you to join the movement right now at EricForIllinois.com.
Why are you running?
For two decades, I was your weatherman. I spent 22 years keeping you safe by telling the truth, informing, and educating our communities daily. Because telling you how the weather impacted your jobs, schools, weekends, and yes, sometimes your lives, I earned your trust through thousands of broadcasts bringing you the daily weather and important updates about “once in a century” storms.
To me, being a meteorologist has always been about protecting our neighbors and our communities, values I learned from my family at an early age.
What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?
Congress is a great opportunity to bring people to the table from across the country to address similar challenges. IL-17 is a district that represents most of America, and I look forward to working with those Representatives, Democrat or Republican, to address our most pressing challenges like meaningful action on climate change, strengthening our health care, decreasing the cost of prescription drugs, increasing broadband access, and creating good-paying, sustainable jobs.
I believe Congress needs to do a better job of being trusted by their constituents. I think Congresswoman Cheri Bustos has done an excellent job of this, and I hope to continue being a trusted voice for members of my community. For two decades, I was welcomed into living rooms across our district as a truthful source of weather and science information. My job was quite literally to tell the truth, to make sure people were prepared for the day and ahead of severe weather, and I look forward to continuing to be that trusted voice as the Representative from IL-17.
What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
I think it’s clear that the elephant in the room is inflation. It’s a very personal issue, it’s impacting families across the district. And it’s an incredibly complicated issue, there’s no silver bullet to address inflation, and so we need to be looking at tangible steps that we can take to address the rising costs we see.
I believe that a logical step forward is addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs. I believe it’s essential that we allow Medicare to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies to decrease the prices of our prescription drugs. This is a clear area where the federal government can benefit our citizenry and increase transparency.
What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?
I believe it’s important for elected officials to be present in the communities they represent. IL-17 is a sprawling district, covering 15 counties. I plan on doing town halls at least once a year in-person in each county of the district. And I plan on creating many virtual options as well so that my constituents have the opportunity to hear from me, ask me questions, and offer their suggestions.
I’ve always believed that the best ideas can come from everyone. I want to make sure that as an elected official I’m giving my constituents the opportunity to share their ideas and make their voices heard. I believe that my job is to elevate them, not myself.