In April, Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois plans to win herself another first, after becoming the first woman amputee elected to Congress, the first Asian-American to represent Illinois, and the first US Senator to have been born in Thailand. On top of all that, of course, she’s the only member of the Senate to have lost two legs and part of her arm after the helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq. Now, Duckworth will become the first member of the Senate to birth a baby while in office, and is looking forward to schooling — politely — her generally old-guy colleagues in the Senate on the challenges faced by working moms with new babies. Surprisingly, there hasn’t been a nursing nook in the Cloakroom in previous years (fine, we don’t know if she’ll nurse IN the Cloakroom, we’re just saying).
One of her colleagues from her time in the House figures Duckworth will handle the challenges of her new constituent just fine:
“She’s been through things that you and I will probably never understand. So I’m sure for her (having a baby) is in no way daunting,” said Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., who had two children while serving in Congress. “She’s also someone who’s had a whole career in a male-dominated world.”
This will be Duckworth’s second baby; her first was born when she was a member of the House, in 2014. So now she’ll have two Favorite Daughter candidates. And as this very nice Military Times piece notes, she’s ready to do some more role model stuff, because she’s just plain one of those leader-type people:
Duckworth, who turns 50 in March, says she appreciates the historic nature of her baby’s birth, as well as the fact that she represents working mothers and women having babies later in life. She fully expects to have to find a place to nurse in some quiet parlor off the Senate floor.
Have any prominent political idiots come forward to lecture her on how she’s too old to be having a baby? We’ll assume not, since if they had, we’re fairly certain we’d have heard about it from Duckworth directly — she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, as we all saw a couple weeks back when Donald Trump was complaining Democrats had failed in their sacred duty to applaud his State of the Union monotone.
not in the mood for his nonsense:
I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible. Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do.
And I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger. And I have a message for Cadet Bone Spurs. If you cared about our military, you’d stop baiting Kim Jong-un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops and millions of innocent civilians in danger.
The Military Times attributes the “Cadet Bone Spurs” coinage to Duckworth, which sounds about right, but if some smarty with LexisNexus can find an earlier citation than that January 21 speech, we’ll update.
More recently, Duckworth has been fighting against a truly evil measure in the House that would limit “frivolous” lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act. “Frivolous” to just whom, exactly, she asked in an excellent Twitter thread:
The House bill passed, but Duckworth is looking forward to the fight to defeat it in the Senate.
Go give the Military Times profile of Duckworth a read — among other things, we learn that Sen. Bob Dole, who met Duckworth when Dick Durbin invited her to be his guest for George W. Bush’s 2005 State of the Union address, was so impressed with Duckworth — who had just been shot down the year before — that he dedicated his 2005 book to her, saying she “represents all those with their own battles ahead of them.”
The profile closes with a reminder that it’s a mistake to misunderestimate Tammy Duckworth:
One day in December as Duckworth wheeled around a corner in the Capitol toward the Senate’s historic vote on tax cuts, a young police officer stopped her. The elevators, he said, were reserved “for members only.”
Duckworth looked up and, all business, informed him that she’s the junior senator from Illinois.
The officer let Duckworth through — with apologies.
Gotta educate the boys: It’s not just troublemaking protesters using wheelchairs around there. And in a couple months, remind ’em that working moms have a vote. On the floor, in a few minutes.
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