Tammy Duckworth: Candidate Profile
8th District U.S. Representative (Democrat)
Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Rolling Meadows
Office sought: 8th District U.S. Representative
Occupation: Assistant Secretary -- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2009-2011 Director -- Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, 2006-2009
Education: University of Hawaii, B.A. in Political Science George Washington University, M.A. in International Affairs Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, Northern Illinois University Doctoral Candidate, Public Health, Capella University
Civic involvement: Lt. Colonel, Illinois Army National Guard Daughters of the American Revolution Public Relations Society of America
Elected offices held: N/A
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
My first priority is to regrow our economy. I propose to do so with a combination of short-term programs that prime the pump of the economy and longer-term policy changes that establish the environment for an economic recovery and return to growth.
Top short-term initiatives that I will support include infrastructure investment in transportation, schools, communications and utilities.
Long-term initiatives include job training, business tax credits for research, payroll, alternative energy and hiring preferences for Veterans and those who have been unemployed for more than 6 months.
Key Issue 2
What is your Number 2 campaign issue? My second priority for the nation is to address the extreme rancor and partisanship in politics that have pushed our government to the brink of failure.
I'm proud to have served and sacrificed for our nation, but in Congress today I don't see a lot of courage or selflessness.
In Congress, first and foremost, I will be a voice calling for reason in search of practical solutions to our most pressing problems.
I will work with anyone who loves this country as much as I do to get us moving forward again.
Key Issue 3
What is your Number 3 campaign issue? Third, I will work with both sides of the aisle to develop a sensible plan to balance the budget.
We must take a hard look at the war in Afghanistan and excesses in defense spending.
I will work to protect our military men and women as well as those in our society who are most vulnerable.
I will fight to preserve critical safety net programs like Social Security and Medicare and others like Pell Grants that give everyone a chance at the American Dream. I am willing to take a hard look at federal contracting, the military budget and tax loopholes that let companies like GE completely avoid the corporate income tax.
What would you do to help ease partisan gridlock? Are you willing to compromise on sticking points including spending cuts and taxes to produce results' How can Congress move from being a "crisis-driven" institution?
One of my top priorities in Congress will be to bring reason and leadership back to Congress.
The extreme partisanship found there is prohibiting government from addressing the key issues and challenges facing our nation.
There must be a balance of commitment to values on the one hand and compromise for the greater good on the other.
Members need to, first and foremost, represent their districts.
Too many Members are placing partisan rhetoric ahead of the national interest.
Should tax breaks be extended? Why or why not? If so, for whom? What should Congress do to improve unemployment? Why do you support or oppose President Obama's jobs plan? What cuts or revenue increases do you support for deficit reduction?
At the end of the day, we're going to have to make difficult choices to get this country back to economic strength. We can't afford to do nothing -- or keep squabbling while millions of families continue to live on the edge.
But just like a family trying to balance its household budget, we have to be smart about what we can and cannot afford.
I support President Obama's jobs plan and believe that it is imperative that the federal government have a role in strengthening our economy.
One of the first things I did upon entering this race was release a jobs plan -- even before the President released his.
The plan includes significant infrastructure investment, education, and tax credits for those who hire the long-term unemployed.
I do not believe we can ask working and middle class families, Veterans and low-income seniors to pay more taxes while the wealthiest -- like Mitt Romney -- pay at only the 15% tax rate.
We must let the Bush era tax breaks for the super wealthy expire and ensure that giant corporations like General Electric, which paid no federal income taxes last year, pay their fair share.
The deficit can only be solved with a multi-faceted approach.
We need to end subsidies to the oil and gas industry and certain agricultural subsidies.
Medicare must to be allowed to negotiate for cheaper drug prices, like the Department of Veterans Affairs does. We must make responsible, reasonable cuts to Pentagon spending and related programs such redundant military equipment.
I can speak with experience about the need for more oversight of the spending of the Department of Defense, which has the largest budget of any federal agency. ?As a combat Veteran and member of the National Guard, I have the experience to be able to ask the right questions and push for better oversight of military contracts.
What steps should the country now be taking in the war on terrorism? What policy should the U.S. have toward Iran and North Korea? What is your view of terrorism policies that pit public safety against civil liberty?
The country needs to continue to oppose terrorism.
The war in Iraq was a distraction from the real threat posed by Al Qaeda and similar extremist groups, and the new focus on eliminating terrorist leaders and disrupting their operations has been more effective.
Iran and North Korea's aggression should be stopped, and the US should work as part of an international effort to stop any nations from developing nuclear weapons. It appears that sanctions are working, and while I do not want military action I agree with the President that all options must be on the table.
How should Medicare and Medicaid be changed overall to fix fund gaps' How should Medicare be changed for those currently enrolled? How should it change for the Baby Boomer generation?
In the Jobs Plan I released earlier this year, I specifically recommend that Medicare be allowed to negotiate for cheaper drug prices.
While I was at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, we were able to do so and the cost savings are significant.
It is unconscionable that a consumer can buy medicines over the counter for less than Medicare.
In fact, as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, I saw multi-million dollar cost savings for the State's Veterans Homes when we were able to access the VA's competitively negotiated formulary.
I am opposed to Majority Whip Paul Ryan's budget plan to transition Medicare into a voucher program for those under the age of 55. Under his plan, the people in our country who depend on our health care system the most would no longer receive guaranteed benefits, but would be forced to fight with insurance companies over what treatments may or may not be covered, and into terrible choices about choices not covered by the voucher.
This plan could double out-of-pocket cost for seniors in ten years.
Medicare is a model of efficiency, providing care to more people at a lower cost than any private insurance plan. I will not support any plan that ends Medicare as we know it by eliminating guaranteed benefits.
As a wounded Veteran who has received significant care from VA's healthcare system, I know personally the value and importance of home- and community-based long term care that are offered through Medicaid.
During my recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, I saw first hand how important it was for families and friends to be a part of the healing process. While long-term care often faces different issues, I strongly agree that the process is easier for patients and those who care for them if home and community based services are available.
What is your position on concealed carry gun laws' How do you believe marriage should be defined legally? What is your position on abortion? What, if any, abortion exceptions do you support? Should abortion clinics receive government funding?
My view on marriage equality is rooted in love.
While I was recovering at Walter Reed after being shot down in Iraq, my husband Bryan was at my beside every day.
Not only offering love and support during such a difficult time, but also making decisions for me.
If he were unable to be with me during that time, unable to make those decisions, I would have been at a loss.
That is why I am supportive of gay marriage.
Because everyone deserves the same level of access, support and love.
As an EMILY's List endorsed-candidate, I fully support a woman's right to control her own body.
I do not support any restrictions on a woman's right to choose or her access to safe, affordable reproductive health services.
I disagree with the Administration's decision to block sales of Plan B over the counter, and would like to see it reversed.
I support the Brady Bill and a ban on assault weapons.
I will consider concealed carry gun law for off-duty and retired police officers.