Who is Senator Tammy Duckworth? Ladda Tammy Duckworth (born March 12, 1968) is an American politician and retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel who has served as a senator from Illinois since 2017. As a Member of the Democratic Party, the 8th District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives represented the number of deputies from 2013 to 2017.
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Duckworth was educated at the Universities of Hawaii and George Washington. She was a veteran fighter in the Iraq War and worked as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army. In 2004, after her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents, she was seriously wounded in the fighting, causing her legs to be lost and some movement in her right arm. She was the first woman amputated from the war. Despite her serious injuries, she sought and obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue serving in the Illinois Army National Guard until she retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014.
Duckworth ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, then served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 to 2011. In 2012, Duckworth was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, where she served two terms. Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, beating Republican Mark Kirk. She is the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress, the first woman born in Thailand to be elected to Congress, the first woman with disabilities to be elected to Congress, the first woman to have a double limb amputated in the Senate, and the first senator to be born while in office. Duckworth is the second of three Asian-American women serving in the U.S. Senate, after Mazi Hirono, and before Kamala Harris.
L. Tammy Duckworth was born in Bangkok, Thailand, the daughter of Franklin Duckworth and Lamai Somburnibirin. Under old American law, she is a natural-born citizen because her father is American. Her father, who died in 2005, was a U.S. Army and Marine veteran who traced his family’s American family roots to the American Revolutionary War. Her mother is a Thai Chinese native from Chiang Mai. Her father worked with the United Nations and international companies in refugee, housing and development programs, and the family moved throughout Southeast Asia. Duckworth became fluent in Thai and Indonesian, as well as English.
Duckworth attended the Singapore American School, the International School in Bangkok, and the Jakarta Multicultural School (then known as Jakarta International School) for a few months in her freshman year in 1985, and graduated with honors from McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1985 after her family settled in Hawaii when she was 16. I’m past ninth grade. Her father was unemployed for some time, and the family relied on public assistance. She graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science, and later earned a Master of Arts degree in International Affairs from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She began her PhD program at Northern Illinois University, which was interrupted by her war service. She completed her PhD in Human Services from Kabila University in March 2015.
Duckworth is married to Brian Bolsby. The couple have two daughters: Abigail, who was born in 2014, and Miley, born in 2018. The birth of Miley Duckworth made her the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office. Former Senator Daniel Akaka (Democrat of Hawaii) helped the couple name the two daughters; Shortly after Miley’s birth, a change to the Senate rule allowed senators to bring children under one year of age into the Senate chamber for breastfeeding. This was a symbolic moment for Dickworth, who has already introduced the Mothers’ Friendly Airports Act (FAM) to ensure that new mothers have access to safe, clean and accessible feeding rooms when travelling through airports. The day after the rule change, Duckworth brought Miley with her while casting a Senate vote, making Duckworth the first senator to cast his vote as he carried a child.
Duckworth served in the Illinois Army National Guard with her husband, Major Brian W. Bolsby, a signal officer and his Iraq war colleague. Both have since retired from the armed forces.
Duckworth helped create the Intrepid Foundation to help injured veterans.
In August 2020, Duckworth told NPR in an interview that she was studying her children at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.