Tammy Duckworth leaving VA post

June 13, 2011

Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who drew national attention with her 2006 run for Congress, is resigning as an assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs, administration officials confirmed Monday.

Duckworth plans to return to her home state of Illinois, where political insiders expect her to run again for the House next fall.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said Duckworth “has served the Department of Veterans Affairs with distinction. Her unwavering dedication to veterans and their families has strengthened VA’s ability to perform our mission — providing veterans the health care and benefits they have earned.”

VA aides said Duckworth was on official travel Monday and unavailable for comment. They declined to speak about her plans, citing the law that bans political activity in the federal workplace.

Duckworth lost both her legs in 2004 after the Army Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down over Iraq. While recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she met President Obama, then a U.S. senator from her home state, who visited her several times, and then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), who recruited her to run for the House.

In that 2006 race, she lost a close battle to Peter Roskam (R). News reports in Illinois say that Duckworth is now eyeing one of the state’s redrawn congressional districts in Chicago’s suburbs.

In a 2009 interview, Duckworth said she would run again for elected office if the right opportunity emerged.

No date for her departure from the VA has been set, aides said.

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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