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L. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)

U.S. Representative (Since 2013); Former Assistant Veterans Affairs Secretary

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(US Dept of Vets Affairs)

Why She Matters

Duckworth won the race for Illinois’s 8th congressional seat in November 2012, defeating incumbent Rep. Joe Walsh (R).

Duckworth, a veteran who lost both her legs while serving in Iraq in 2004, resigned from her post as assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs in June 2011.

Duckworth was recruited to run for Congress in 2006 by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, chaired by then-Illinois Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (D), to run for the seat vacated by retiring Congressman Henry Hyde (R).

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Column

As Darrell Issa shows, it’s a bad time to be a demagogue

No one’s afraid to denounce Darrell Issa.

Video

Duckworth slams witness over lucrative military disability status

Iraq war veteran and double amputee Rep. Tammy Duckworth excoriated an IRS contractor who used a prep school injury from 27 years ago to qualify for disabled veteran status.

U.S. cancels delegation to Paralympic Games in Russia

Athletes from the United States will still be encouraged to compete, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

Next mission for female vets: Storming the halls of Congress

At least a dozen female veterans are running for Congress in 2014, the most ever in one election year, according to experts.

Duckworth scorches witness at House hearing (VIDEO)

The Iraq war veteran grills a witness at a House Oversight Committee hearing.

The four biggest takeaways from the Illinois primaries

(Charles Rex Arbogast / AP)

Tuesday’s results were filled with implications for labor and gay rights activists.

 
 

At a Glance

  • Career History: Director, Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, (2007-2009); Illinois Congressional candidate (2006); Captain, helicopter pilot, Iraq war (2004);Manager for District Administration, Rotary International (2002-2004);Coordinator, Center for Nursing Research, Northern Illinois University (1991-2001)
  • Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Alma Mater: B.A., Political Science, University of Hawaii; M.A., George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs
  • Spouse: Major Bryan Bowlsbey
  • Email : N/A
  • Website : N/A
 

Path to Power

Born in 1968, in Bangkok, Thailand, daughter of a U.S. Marine who fought in Vietnam and an ethnic Chinese mother, Duckworth spent most of her childhood in Southeast Asia, as her father moved around for his work with the United Nations.

She graduated with a bachelor's in political science from the University of Hawaii, a master's from George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, and started work on a Ph.D in political science from Northern Illinois University.

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The Issues

Though she served in Iraq, Duckworth has voiced opposition to President George W. Bush's decision to go to war there. She was a prime-time speaker at the Democratic convention in Denver, and used the platform to protest the policy the Bush administration crafted, and that 2008 GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) intended to follow. "We have diverted our military might to Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11," she said. Supporting Obama's views, she said the war on terror should be fought instead in Afghanistan, "where al-Qaida and the Taliban are on the offensive."

Health Care for Veterans

Duckworth has positioned herself as an advocate for wounded veterans with first-hand experience that sharpens her focus on what the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) could do better, given available modern medical technologies.

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The Network

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Daniel K. Akaka (D) is a fan, which boded well for Duckworth's confirmation.At the hearing, Senators welcomed her warmly, expressing concerns only that in her new role, she not gloss over any inadequacies found in VA service to veterans. She assured the committee she would approach the job with "candor, transparency, and integrity."

Duckworth's circle of Illinois political connections has brought her to Washington, including President Obama, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (D), and now-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

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Campaign Contributions

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Additional Resources

  1. http://www.veterans.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?pageid=16&release_id=11926&view=all
  2. Testimony for the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 6 November 2007
  3. "The Pedals Were Gone, and So Were My Legs," by Leon Shane III, Stars and Stripes, June 12, 2005
  4. The Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition
  5. Democratic National Convention speech, Tammy Duckworth, Illinois, Wednesday August 27, 2008 at 8:00 pm
  6. Democratic National Convention speech Tammy Duckworth, Illinois, Wednesday August 27, 2008 at 8:00 pm
  7. "Gov. Rod Blagojevich appoints Tammy Duckworth as new Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, " press release, Office of the Governor, Nov. 21, 2006
  8. "We Weren't Ready for it," by Jessica Bennett, Newsweek, Jan. 13, 2006"Iraq war veteran wins star support; Despite key national backers, Democrat wages uphill battle in congressional race," by John Biemer, Chicago Tribune, March 15, 2006,
  9. Testimony for the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 6 November 2007
  10. "ARRESTED; U.S.: Blagojevich tried to sell Senate seat in 'political corruption crime spree'," Chicago Tribune, December 9, 2008
  11. "Gov. Rod Blagojevich appoints Tammy Duckworth as new Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs," press release, Office of the Governor, Nov. 21, 2006
  12. "Duckworth a Leading Contender for VA Secretary," by Phillip Rucker, Washington Post, Nov. 13, 2008, "Akaka Announces Confirmation Hearings on VA Nominees Gould and Duckworth," U.S. Senate press release, March 18, 2009
  13. "Duckworth Tapped for VA Assistant Secretary," The White House Office of Press Secretary, February 3, 2009
  14. "Duckworth Tapped for VA Assistant Secretary," The White House Office of Press Secretary, February 3, 2009, New York Times Topics
  15. U.S. States News press release, September 28, 2008, "Lt. Gov. Quinn,USO, Hundreds of Relatives, Friends to Honor Families of Fallen Illinois Heroes at Gold Star Mothers Ceremony"
  16. The Almanac of American Politics, 2008 edition
  17. O'Keefe, Ed."Tammy Duckworth leaving VA post." The Washington Post, June 13, 2011
  18. O'Keefe, Ed."Tammy Duckworth leaving VA post." The Washington Post, June 13, 2011
  19. O'Keefe, Ed."Tammy Duckworth leaving VA post." The Washington Post, June 13, 2011
  20. O'Keefe, Ed, "Tammy Duckworth Passes on Illinois Lieutenant Governor Race," Washington Post, Feb. 23, 2010