U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth is challenging incumbent Senator Mark Kirk in the 2016 election. Duckworth won handily her Democratic primary race on March 15, 2016. She is the first double amputee woman to be elected in 2012 to the House, and is an Iraq veteran who was severely wounded as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. She was born in Bangkok, Thailand. She is a strong supporter of women’s issues and has worked as a veteran’s advocate at both the state and federal level.
Background and Achievements
Duckworth was pursuing a Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University when her Army National Guard Unit was called up for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Her helicopter was hit by a rocket propelled grenade in 2004 and she lost both of her legs and partial use of her right arm. After her recovery she became an advocate for veterans and was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. President Obama appointed her to be an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She led a drive to end homelessness for veterans and initiatives for female veterans. Elected to Congress in 2012, she advocated for small businesses, building our infrastructure, veterans affairs, women’s rights, civil rights, LGBTQ issues, and voting rights.
Positions on Key Issues
- Supports Women’s Reproductive Health, Early Childhood Education Programs, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the gender wage gap
- Supports development of more efficient and affordable renewable fuel technologies
- Supports strengthening Social Security by raising the cap on earnings subject to the payroll tax
- Opposes privatizing Medicare and supports stronger penalties for Medicaid and Medicare fraud
- Supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts
- Supports comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the millions undocumented persons currently residing in the US
Prospects & Opponents
The race is considered a toss-up and a must win race for the Democrats to win a majority in the Senate. Senator Kirk is considered to be the most vulnerable Senate incumbent this election cycle. He has already sought to distance himself from Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.
- Feminist Majority
- EMILY's List
- Illinois Federation of Teachers
- Hillary Clinton
- Democracy for America
- League of Conservation Voters