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Tammy Duckworth

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Tammy Duckworth
Tammy Duckworth, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by Joe Walsh
Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
In office
April 24, 2009 – June 30, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Lisette Mondello
Succeeded by Michael Galloucis
Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
In office
November 21, 2006 – February 8, 2009
Governor Rod Blagojevich
Pat Quinn
Preceded by Roy Dolgos
Succeeded by Daniel Grant
Personal details
Born Ladda Tammy Duckworth
(1968-03-12) March 12, 1968 (age 48)
Bangkok, Thailand
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bryan Bowlsbey
Children 1
Alma mater University of Hawaii, Manoa
George Washington University
Northern Illinois University
Capella University
Awards Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
RibbonAirMedal.PNG Air Medal
Army Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Army Commendation Medal with Oak leaf cluster
Army Reserve Achievement ribbon.svg Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four Oak leaf clusters
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Senior Army Aviator Badge.png Senior Army Aviator Badge
Website Government website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Illinois Army National Guard
Years of service 1992–2014
Rank US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 28th Infantry Division DUI.png 106th Aviation Regiment, 28th Infantry Division
Battles/wars Iraq War (WIA)

Ladda Tammy Duckworth (born March 12, 1968) is an American politician who has been the U.S. Representative for Illinois's 8th congressional district since 2013. A Democrat, she is the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in Illinois, the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand. Her father, an American, and her mother of Chinese descent were working and living there at the time. She grew-up and studied languages in several places in Asia, and graduated from high school and university in Hawaii. She later studied in Washington, D.C. and Illinois. While a student, she joined the U.S. Army Reserve and trained as a helicopter pilot.

Duckworth previously served as Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs from April 24, 2009, to June 30, 2011, and as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs from November 21, 2006, to February 8, 2009.

An Iraq War veteran, Duckworth served as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and suffered severe combat wounds, losing both of her legs and damaging her right arm. She was the first female double amputee from the war.[1] Having received a medical waiver, she continued to serve as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard along with her husband, Major Bryan W. Bowlsbey, a signal officer and fellow Iraq War veteran.[2] Duckworth retired from the army in October 2014, and was reelected to Congress in November.

Duckworth is running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Early life, education, and military service[edit]

Tammy Duckworth was born in Bangkok, Thailand, to Franklin and Lamai Duckworth. Her American father, who died in 2005,[3] was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who traced his family's American roots to before the Revolutionary War. Her Thai mother, Lamai, is of Chinese ancestry.[4] Because of her father's work with the United Nations and international companies, the family moved around Southeast Asia. Duckworth became fluent in Thai and Indonesian, in addition to English.[5]

The family settled in Hawaii when she was sixteen. Duckworth attended Singapore American School, and for a few months in her senior year was at the International School Bangkok. She graduated with honors from McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1985, after skipping the ninth grade. She graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, and received a Master of Arts in international affairs from George Washington University.[6]

Following in the footsteps of her father and ancestors, who served in the Revolutionary War, World War II, and the Vietnam War,[4] Duckworth joined the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps as a graduate student at George Washington University in 1990. She became a commissioned officer in the United States Army Reserve in 1992 and chose to fly helicopters because it was one of the few combat jobs open to women. As a member of the Army Reserve, she went to flight school, later transferring to the Army National Guard and entering the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996.[7] Duckworth also worked as a staff supervisor at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.[8][9]

Duckworth was working towards a Ph.D. in political science at Northern Illinois University, with research interests in the political economy and public health in southeast Asia, when she was deployed to Iraq in 2004.[8] She lost her right leg near the hip and her left leg below the knee[10] from injuries sustained on November 12, 2004, when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents.[11] She was the first female double amputee from the Iraq war.[1] The explosion "almost completely destroyed her right arm, breaking it in three places and tearing tissue from the back side of it".[12] The doctors "reset the bones in her arm and stitched the cuts" to save her arm.[12] Duckworth received a Purple Heart on December 3 and was promoted to Major on December 21 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she was presented with an Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal.[11] She retired from the Illinois Army National Guard in October 2014 as a lieutenant colonel.[13] She returned to school and completed a PhD in Human Services at Capella University in March 2015.[14]

Post-military career[edit]

Government service[edit]

Duckworth being sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, by Judge John J. Farley with her husband Bryan Bowlsbey beside her.

On November 21, 2006, several weeks after losing her first congressional campaign, Duckworth was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs by Governor Rod Blagojevich[15][16][17] Duckworth served in that position until February 8, 2009.

On September 17, 2008, Duckworth attended a campaign event for Dan Seals, the Democratic candidate for Illinois's 10th congressional district. Duckworth used vacation time, but violated Illinois law by going to the event in a state-owned van which was equipped for a person with physical disabilities. She acknowledged the mistake and repaid the state for the use of the van.[18][19]

Duckworth speaks during the third night of the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado.

Duckworth was a speaker at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.[20][21][22]

In 2009, two Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs employees at the Anna Veteran's Home in Union County filed a lawsuit against Duckworth.[23] The lawsuit alleged that Duckworth wrongfully terminated one employee and threatened and intimidated another for bringing reports of abuse and misconduct of veterans when she was head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs.[24] Duckworth was represented in the suit by the Illinois Attorney General's office.[25] The case was dismissed twice but refilings were allowed.[26] The court set a tentative trial date of August 2016 and rejected the final motion to dismiss.[27] The state settled the case in June 2016 for $26,000 with no admission of wrongdoing.[26]

Also in 2009, the Illinois Auditor General released a "fairly critical audit of the department, mostly during Duckworth's tenure, saying that it lacked internal financial controls and records".[28]

On February 3, 2009, Duckworth was nominated to be the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.[29] The United States Senate confirmed her for the position on April 22.[30] Duckworth resigned from her position in June 2011 in order to launch her campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois' 8th Congressional District.[31]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2006[edit]

After long-time incumbent Republican Henry Hyde announced his retirement from Congress, several candidates began campaigning for the office. Duckworth won the Democratic primary with a plurality of 44%, defeating 2004 nominee Christine Cegelis with 40%, and Wheaton College professor Lindy Scott with 16%. During her 2006 campaign for U.S. Congress, Duckworth was endorsed by EMILY's List, a Democratic political action committee that supports abortion rights.[32] Duckworth was also endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Fraternal Order of Police.[33][34] In the Republican primary, Illinois Senator Peter Roskam ran unopposed. While she raised over $1 million more than Roskam, on November 7 Duckworth lost by 4,810 votes, receiving 49% to Roskam's 51%.[35]

2012[edit]

In July 2011, Duckworth launched her campaign to run in 2012 for Illinois's 8th congressional district. Duckworth defeated former Deputy Treasurer of Illinois Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination on March 20, 2012, then faced incumbent Republican Joe Walsh in the general election.[36] Duckworth received the endorsement of both the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald.[37][38] Walsh generated controversy when in July 2012, at a campaign event, he accused Duckworth of politicizing her military service and injuries, saying "my God, that's all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it's the last thing in the world they talk about." Walsh called the controversy over his comments "a political ploy to distort my words and distract voters" and said that "Of course Tammy Duckworth is a hero ... I have called her a hero hundreds of times."[39]

On November 6, 2012, Duckworth defeated Walsh 55%–45%.[40] She is the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and the first member of Congress born in Thailand.[41]

2014[edit]

In the 2014 general election, Duckworth faced Republican Larry Kaifesh, a United States Marine Corps officer who had recently left active duty as a colonel.[42] Duckworth defeated Kaifesh with 56% of the vote.[43]

Tenure[edit]

Duckworth was sworn into office on January 3, 2013.[44]

On April 3, 2013, Duckworth publicly returned 8.4% of her congressional salary for that month to the United States Department of Treasury in solidarity with furloughed government workers. The $1,218 check represented 8.4% of her monthly pay.[45]

On June 26, 2013, during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Duckworth received national media attention after questioning Strong Castle CEO Braulio Castillo on a $500 million government contract the company had been awarded based on Castillo's disabled veteran status.[46][47][48][49]

Committee assignments[edit]

2016 U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

On March 30, 2015, Duckworth announced that she would challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kirk for his seat in the 2016 Senate election in Illinois.[50] Duckworth defeated fellow Democrats Andrea Zopp and Napoleon Harris in the primary election on March 15, 2016.[51]

Political positions[edit]

Health policy[edit]

Duckworth supports abortion rights[52][53] and the Affordable Care Act.[54]

Immigration[edit]

Duckworth supports comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for those in the country illegally. She would admit 100,000 Syrian refugees into the United States.[54]

Foreign policy[edit]

Duckworth narrates the Salute to Fallen Asian Pacific Islander Heroes in Arlington, Virginia, June 2, 2005.

During her unsuccessful congressional campaign in 2006, Duckworth called on Congress to audit the estimated $437 billion spent on overseas military and foreign aid since September 11, 2001.[55]

On September 30, 2006, Duckworth gave the Democratic Party's response to President George W. Bush's weekly radio address. In it, she was critical of President Bush's strategy for the Iraq War.[56]

In October 2006, The Sunday Times reported that Duckworth agreed with General Sir Richard Dannatt, the British Army chief, that the presence of coalition troops was exacerbating the conflict in Iraq.[57]

Personal life[edit]

After being shot down over Iraq, Duckworth was fitted for prosthetics and is now fully mobile. She helped establish the Intrepid Foundation to help injured veterans.[58]

Former Republican presidential candidate and Senator Bob Dole dedicated his biography One Soldier's Story in part to Duckworth.[59] Duckworth credits Dole for inspiring her to pursue public service while she recuperated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center although, in 2006, Dole endorsed Duckworth's Republican opponent, Peter Roskam.[60]

In May 2010, Duckworth was awarded an honorary doctorate by Northern Illinois University.[61] In 2011, Duckworth was honored by Chicago's Access Living for her work on behalf of veterans with disabilities.[62]

Duckworth is married to Bryan Bowlsbey. The couple have a daughter, born in 2014.[63]

Electoral history[edit]

Election results
Year Office District Election Votes for Duckworth % Opponent Party Votes %
2006 U.S. House 6th General 86,572 48% Peter Roskam Republican 91,382 51%
2012 8th Primary 17,097 66% Raja Krishnamoorthi Democratic 8,736 33%
General 123,206 54% Joe Walsh Republican 101,860 45%
2014 8th General 84,178 55.7% Lawrence Kaifesh Republican 66,878 44.3%

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b O'Toole, Molly (May 14, 2012). "Unseen: Trailblazing Military Women Forced To Fight For Recognition, Equal Treatment". The Huffington Post. 
  2. ^ Brown, Mark (February 14, 2007). "Duckworth's husband Iraq-bound". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  3. ^ O'Connor, Philip. "Downed Pilot Finally Hears Uplifting Words She Awaited". St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 27, 2005. Article available at Arlington Cemetery website page for Franklin G. Duckworth. [1]
  4. ^ a b Adam Weinstein (September–October 2012). "Nobody Puts Tammy Duckworth in a Corner". Mother Jones. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  5. ^ Slevin, Peter. "After War Injury, an Iraq Vet Takes on Politics". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  6. ^ Will Hoover (January 15, 2006). "Duckworth working to win". The Honolulu Advertiser. 
  7. ^ Haskall, Bob (January 6, 2005). "U.S. Army National Guard Maj. Tammy Duckworth: Illinois Guard officer faces adversity with courage, concern for troops". Defend America. U.S. Department of Defense. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  8. ^ a b "Iraq Vet's New Fight is for Congress". CBS News. Archived from the original on February 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  9. ^ "Illinois lieutenant governor honors Rotary Centennial and RI employee". Rotary International. Archived from the original on June 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  10. ^ Honolulu Advertiser, "Can-do spirit rises from crash" March 17, 2005; accessed August 22, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "The pedals were gone, and so were my legs", June 14, 2005, Stars and Stripes.
  12. ^ a b Camire, Dennis (March 18, 2005). "Franklin G. Duckworth, Captain, United States Army". Unofficial Arlington National Cemetery Website. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  13. ^ "Duckworth Retires". Public Affairs Office, Illinois National Guard. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Countdown to commencement". 
  15. ^ "Director L. Tammy Duckworth: Committed to Serving Country and Community". Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. 
  16. ^ Dvahome
  17. ^ Sweet, Lynn (November 21, 2006). "Gov picks Duckworth for Veterans Affairs". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  18. ^ newsblogs.chicagotribune.com, September 18, 2008.
  19. ^ Susan Kuczka, "Official admits error using state van; Tammy Duckworth took time off from job as state Veterans Affairs director to attend a campaign event but ran into controversy", Chicago Tribune. Chicago, IL: September 18, 2008, pg. 1.
  20. ^ "Conventions 2008 – the Democrats". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  21. ^ "Ledbetter, Baldwin, Longoria to address Dem convention". Retrieved 2012-08-22. 
  22. ^ "Duckworth touts Obama record at DNC convention", articles.chicagotribune.com; accessed November 12, 2014.
  23. ^ "Employee lawsuit pops up in Walsh-Duckworth race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  24. ^ Kurt Erickson. "Duckworth whistleblower trial date set". The Quad-City Times. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Morning Spin: Judge sets May date in Duckworth 'retaliation' lawsuit". Chicago Tribune. March 23, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016. 
  26. ^ a b Pearson, Rick (June 24, 2016). "Workplace lawsuit against Tammy Duckworth settled". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 
  27. ^ "Judge allows workplace case against Tammy Duckworth to go to trial". Chicago Tribune. May 12, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016. 
  28. ^ Hinz, Greg (March 3, 2016). "Duckworth used vets' post to build political career: Ex-deputy". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  29. ^ "Duckworth Tapped for VA Assistant Secretary". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. February 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-03. 
  30. ^ "Senate Confirms Duckworth's Federal Nomination". Associated Press. April 23, 2009. Retrieved January 4, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Tammy Duckworth Resigns At VA, Illinois Congressional Run Could Be In The Cards". The Huffington Post. June 14, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  32. ^ Jeff Zeleny and John Biemer. "Duckworth praised for stance on abortion: EMILY'S List backs congressional hopeful". Chicago Tribune. May 12, 2006.
  33. ^ John Biemer and Christi Parsons, "Gun law heats up race for Congress", Chicago Tribune, October 11, 2006 (registration required)
  34. ^ Eric Krol, "Duckworth takes aim at Roskam gun record", Daily Herald, October 11, 2006.
  35. ^ "Election 2006 Results: State Races, Illinois". CNN. Retrieved 2007-03-27. 
  36. ^ Sneed, Michael (July 6, 2011). "Tammy Duckworth running for Congress again, in redrawn 8th". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved July 9, 2011. 
  37. ^ For the House: Duckworth, editorial board, Chicago Tribune, October 8, 2012.
  38. ^ Endorsement: Duckworth over Walsh in 8th Congressional District, editorial board, Daily Herald, October 8, 2012.
  39. ^ "Walsh defends remarks on whether Duckworth is true hero". Chicago Tribune. July 3, 2012. 
  40. ^ "2012 Election Results by State – Illinois". Politico. 
  41. ^ Duaa Eldeib (November 10, 2012). "Duckworth the first Asian-American from Illinois in Congress". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  42. ^ Hinz, Greg (November 4, 2013). "Marine veteran to take on U.S. Rep. Duckworth". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved January 24, 2015. 
  43. ^ "Illinois General Election 2014". Illinois State Board of Elections. 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2015-02-24. 
  44. ^ Santostefano, Melanie (January 5, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth Sworn in to Congress". Palatine Patch. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  45. ^ Kiene, Chelsea (April 4, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth Returns Portion Of Salary In Sequestration Solidarity". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  46. ^ Mordecai, Adam. "What's The Dumbest Thing You Could Say To A Congresswoman Who Lost Her Legs In Battle? Um, THIS". Upworthy.com. Retrieved June 30, 2013. 
  47. ^ Graham, D. A. (June 27, 2013). "Tammy Duckworth's Impassioned Shaming of a Faux-Disabled Vet". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  48. ^ Thompson, M. (June 27, 2013). "Service-Connected Dissembling". Time. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  49. ^ Chumley, C. (June 27, 2013). "Rep. Tammy Duckworth, double amputee, slams IRS worker on disability". The Washington Times. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  50. ^ "Tammy Duckworth Running Against Mark Kirk for US Senate". Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News. March 30, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015. 
  51. ^ "Duckworth, Kirk win Illinois US Senate Primaries". Chicago ABC 7 Eyewitness News. March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  52. ^ "After War Injury, an Iraq Vet Takes on Politics". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  53. ^ Pathe, Simone (August 25, 2015). "Another Democrat Gets in Race to Replace Duckworth". Roll Call. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  54. ^ a b Skiba, Katherine (March 3, 2016). "Duckworth's rebound paved by help from Democrats in high places". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  55. ^ Pat Corcoran (August 17, 2006). "Duckworth calls for investigation of foreign spending since 9/11". Northbrook Star. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. 
  56. ^ Biemer, John (October 1, 2006). "Duckworth: Bush has slogans, not strategies on Iraq". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  57. ^ Sarah Baxter "War heroine leads Democrat charge", The Sunday Times, October 22, 2006.
  58. ^ Haglund, Alex (June 27, 2011). "Duckworth, Pitcher honored along with all women veterans in Mt. Vernon". Advocate-Press. Retrieved February 5, 2016. 
  59. ^ Sneed, Michael (August 20, 2006). "Did you know.". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  60. ^ Biemer, John (September 29, 2006). "Dole makes it clear: He backs Roskam over Duckworth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2006-10-20. 
  61. ^ "NIU to award honorary degree to 'a true American hero'". Northern Illinois University. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-29. 
  62. ^ Karen Meyer, Duckworth to be honored for commitment to disabled veterans, ABC-7 Chicago website; accessed November 12, 2014. Archived May 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  63. ^ Skiba, Katherine (November 20, 2014). "Rep. Tammy Duckworth gives birth to daughter". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Roy Dolgos
Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs
2006–2009
Succeeded by
Daniel Grant
Preceded by
Lisette Mondello
Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Michael Galloucis
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joe Walsh
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 8th congressional district

2013–present
Incumbent
Party political offices
Preceded by
Alexi Giannoulias
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Illinois
(Class 3)

2016
Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ron DeSantis
United States Representatives by seniority
319th
Succeeded by
Elizabeth Esty