Democrat Ladda Tammy Duckworth

House
Ladda Tammy Duckworth

Birthdate: March 12, 1968
Birth Place: Bangkok, , Thailand
Residence: Hoffman Estates, IL
Gender: Female

Candidacy

Party: Democratic
State: Illinois
Office: House
District: District 8

Education

Undergraduate: University of Hawaii

Degree: BA

Graduate: George Washington University

Degree: MA

Tammy Duckworth was born in Bangkok, the daughter of a military father, and now resides in Hoffman Estates, Ill. She earned a bachelor's in political science from the University of Hawaii and a master's in international relations at George Washington University.

While a graduate student, she joined the U.S. Army's ROTC and became a commissioned officer and pilot. She joined the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996.

While serving in Iraq in 2004 as a helicopter pilot, Duckworth lost both her legs and her right arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack. Surgeons reattached her arm, which carries a deep scar, and she relies on prosthetic limbs and a wheelchair.

In 2006, she ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House against Rep. Peter Roskam. Soon after, she was appointed director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In 2008, President Barack Obama's administration appointed her assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She stepped down in 2011 after declaring her run for Congress.

Duckworth is married and has no children.

Profile

Tammy Duckworth's second run for the U.S. House is one of the most high-profile congressional races in the country. In the November 2012 general election she faces outspoken incumbent Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, a tea party candidate who has been in the spotlight for criticizing President Barack Obama.

Since she declared her intention to run again, the Democratic establishment has backed Duckworth. She left her Obama administration job on good terms and received early endorsements from U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, Obama adviser David Axelrod and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Duckworth is running in the newly created 8th District, which was drawn by Democrats. It's Democratic friendly territory, one of the most ethnically diverse on the map with its large immigrant population.

She has talked often on the campaign trail about her biracial heritage and growing up overseas, and has focused heavily on her military background. She likes to say that her father's ancestors have fought in every major American conflict since the Revolutionary War.

Duckworth lost both her legs and an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in 2004 while serving in Iraq, often describes the events of that day.

"Right now, I'm living in what I call my 'bonus time,'" she said. "I should have died in a dusty field in Iraq when my helicopter was shot down, but my buddies saved my life. This lets me be fearless."

Duckworth, who was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel during the 2012 primary, said she is able to question defense spending without people being able to attack her as a weak-on-defense Democrat.

In March 2012, she easily won the Democratic primary over former State Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi. Just after the primary, she joined forces with two other Democratic challengers: Brad Schneider and former U.S. Rep. Bill Foster who are facing U.S. Reps. Bob Dold and Judy Biggert, respectively, in the November general election.

All three have called joint news conferences from time to time and raised money together. In the first three months of 2012, Duckworth had raised more than double what Walsh had.

Duckworth says her top issue for the district is developing and expanding the economy. Her proposals include infrastructure investment in transportation, schools and job training and business tax credits for research.

She says she also wants to address partisanship, saying she believes that it has "pushed our government to the brink of failure."

Source: Associated Press

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