In this #MeToo environment, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has fast become a star. She was one of the “first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom.” She was already a hero, flying a Blackhawk helicopter when an RPG hit it. Our government awarded her a Purple Heart, but she keeps on reaching for moments of great change, one after the other.
In that accident, Duckworth lost both of her legs and the partial use of her right arm. It did not stop her.
While the downed pilot recovered for a year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, she became an advocate for soldiers, caring for “Veterans and wounded warriors.” The Lt. Colonel retired, but kept moving.
Duckworth ran for and won the representative seat in Illinois’ Eighth Congressional District for two terms. Then, she moved on into the Senate, according to her Senate biography.
The senator made news when she stood up and opposed Donald Trump’s remark that Democrats were “treasonous,” because they did not clap during his State of the Union speech, according to CNN:
‘We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.’
Then, she made yet another first. Duckworth became the first senator to give birth while in office. Did that stop her? No, she has just taken on the whole Senate, which is primarily made up of elderly men.
She submitted a resolution making it possible for senators to bring infants under one-year-old onto the hallowed Senate floor during the all-important voting session. Things are looking good for her.
The senator campaigned for a change in the chamber rules. That has been where the prohibition against children has laid, trying to exclude women from this old boy’s club.
Her argument was this was an archaic ban against working parents and one that would make it nearly impossible for her to nurse her baby and vote. People must physically come to the floor to vote, and the Senate could vote on Secretary of State nominee, Mike Pompeo, at any time.
Before her child was born, Duckworth told POLITICO:
‘I can’t be away from a newborn infant in the first three months for that long.’
The senator’s chief of staff, Kaitlin Fahey, said that Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill, which members of both parties drafted:
‘Senator Duckworth is glad to be able to offer this legislation to ensure no senator with an infant is prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities—and send a message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies. She is optimistic that this will be resolved quickly.’
If anyone can move the boulder called the Senate rules, Duckworth can do it. Senator Mike Enzi requested in 1997 that the Senate allow members to use laptops when they were on the floor. After four month’s study, the Senate rejected his request. That rule still holds.
Featured Image via YouTube Screen Grab.