Bio: After her first run for political office, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth became Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. While there, she worked to create a tax credit for employers who hired Veterans, established a first-in-the-nation 24/7 Veterans crisis hotline and developed innovative programs to improve Veterans’ access to housing and health care. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to be Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, where she coordinated a joint initiative with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help end Veteran homelessness and created the Office of Online Communications to improve the VA’s accessibility, especially among young Veterans. Duckworth ran for Congress again in 2012 and was elected to represent the Eighth District of Illinois in Congress, where she is a Member of the House Armed Services Committee. In November 2016 she was elected to serve as the junior Senator from Illinois and will be inaugurated in January 2017.
Military Bio: Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is an Iraq War Veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. She joined the Illinois Army National Guard and, in 2004, deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot, becoming one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Duckworth lost both her legs and partial use of her right arm when her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on November 12, 2004, and she was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries. Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she quickly became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers and testified before Congress about caring for our Veterans and wounded warriors. Congresswoman Duckworth continued to serve in the Reserve Forces until 2014, when she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
Legislation: The bipartisan Clay Hunt SAV Act helps reduce Veteran suicide by increasing access to mental health services at the VA, addressing the shortage of mental health care professionals, and improving accountability and care through third-party evaluations.
The Troop Talent Act enables returning Veterans to find jobs by helping them obtain the credentials they need to work in civilian fields similar to their military roles.
The bipartisan Military Spouses ACES Act would protect military widows whose spouses died in the line of duty after 9/11 from having their Fry Scholarship benefits cut off before they can finish their studies.
The Servicemember Student Loan Affordability Act would protect servicemembers from needlessly high student loan interest rates and help them take advantage of Veteran benefits that help repay those loans.
The Military Parental Leave Modernization Act would prevent the military from treating certain children as less deserving of bonding time with their new parents by ensuring all new parents serving in the Armed Forces can take a minimum of 12 weeks paid leave.
The Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act would provide a one-time benefit boost of nearly $600 for Veterans and seniors to offset the lack of a 2016 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The SAVE Benefits Act is paid for by closing tax loopholes on lavish corporate compensation packages.
The bipartisan Support Earned Recognition for Veterans (SERV) Act protects Veterans by ensuring benefits that are reserved for those who have sacrificed in service to our nation can no longer be claimed by undeserving individuals who have never actually served in the Armed Forces.
The bipartisan Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act would enable Veteran-owned small businesses to receive government surplus equipment, vehicles or property at no charge.
The Military Consumer Protection Act puts the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in charge of protecting servicemembers from financial abuse.
The National Trauma Care System Act would help eliminate death and disability caused by traumatic injuries by integrating our military and civilian trauma care networks to ensure surgeons and providers in both systems can take advantage of techniques and equipment that have been honed on the battlefield and in our nation’s hospitals.
The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would stop forcing Veterans to pay out-of-pocket copayments for essential preventive care services and medications, which no other insured American is asked to do.