Wednesday, March 22, 2006


The Audacious Tammy Duckworth

Someone asked me, this morning, who I'd consider a very audacious person.

Here, this is the most audacious person I can think of:

Yahoo! News
Wounded Iraq War Vet Wins Ill. Primary

By DENNIS CONRAD, Associated Press Writer2 hours, 11 minutes ago;_ylt=An4RxKiFJwkNzO_qKTO2J1dh24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-

Iraq war veteran L. Tammy Duckworth, a former Army helicopter pilot who lost her legs in a grenade attack two years ago, narrowly won the Democratic congressional primary nomination for the suburban Chicago district held by retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde (news, bio, voting record).

Duckworth, 38, who spent months recovering from her wounds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., was heavily recruited by Democrats eager to give the party more credibility on security issues.

Addressing supporters early Wednesday, Duckworth expressed her thanks "to my buddies who pulled me out of that field in Iraq, to the medical professionals who saved my life and taught me to walk again, to the many volunteers who worked so hard throughout this campaign."

"I especially would like to thank my husband ... He's been there with me every step of the way," she said. Her husband Bryan Bowlsbey is a captain in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Duckworth, who uses a wheelchair and prosthetic legs, captured major newspaper endorsements and received more than $650,000 in contributions since announcing her candidacy in December. She had the backing of Illinois' Democratiic senators, Barack Obama and Dick Durbin, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (news, bio, voting record), the Chicagoan who heads the House Democrats' fundraising efforts.

Even Sens. John Kerry, the party's 2004 presidential nominee, and Hillary Clinton, a 2008 presidential prospect, helped raise money for the Thailand-born Army Reserves major.

With nearly all the precincts counted in unofficial returns from Tuesday's primary, Duckworth had 43.8 percent of the votes for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District. The Democrats' 2004 nominee, businesswoman Christine Cegelis, had 40.4 percent, and Lindy Scott, a Wheaton College professor, had 15.7 percent.

Her Democratic opponents had accused national party leaders of meddling, noting Duckworth does not even live in the district. Duckworth, who lives two miles outside the district, thinks voters will look beyond that issue.

In November's election, Duckworth will face state Sen. Peter Roskam, who was unopposed in the Republican primary. Hyde served in Congress for 32 years representing the district in Chicago's affluent Western suburbs.

In her campaign, Duckworth says she wants to focus on health care, education and improving the U.S. economy's position globally, though she knows the Iraq war will be a big issue.

She privately disagreed with President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq, but still volunteered to serve.

"We should have been fighting the enemies that attacked us at home on 9/11," she said in December when she announced her candidacy. "We should have been out there trying to catch Osama bin Laden."

She does not favor an immediate troop withdrawal but prefers setting "benchmarks" for leaving Iraq, such as pulling out U.S. battalions one-for-one as Iraqi security battalions take over.

On Nov. 12, 2004, Duckworth was severely wounded when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by Iraqi insurgents hit the helicopter she was flying and landed at her feet. She awoke from unconsciousness eight days later at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Duckworth, who was later promoted to major, was released from active military duty in December shortly before she announced her candidacy.

Duckworth, who has degrees in political science and international affairs, says she decided to run after attending Bush's State of the Union address in January 2005 as a guest of Sen. Durbin, and testifying before veteran affairs committees on Capitol Hill.

The daughter of a retired Marine, Duckworth was born in Bangkok, where her father did U.N. refugee work and married Lamai Sompornpairin, an ethnic Chinese. She spent much of her youth in Southeast Asia.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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