YAKIMA, Wash., January 12, 2013 ― The 113th Congress is little changed from the 112th, but one significant change is Tammy Duckworth, who defeated GOP representative Joe Walsh.
The 112th Congress was burdened by a do-nothing House of Representatives. The House was full of tea-party Republicans who didn’t understand that compromise is the cornerstone of democracy.
Opinion polls showed that only 13 percent of Americans thought the 112th Congress was effective. While 3 percent were undecided, a whopping 84 percent disapproved of this session, which was characterized by ideological rigidity. It’s hard to believe we re-elected most of the House back in the 2012 elections; from a curmudgeon’s view, it was ludicrous.
The only thing that united the 112th tea-party Republicans was a uniform Republican commitment to defeat anything the Democrats and President Obama wanted to accomplish. House Speaker John Boehner was determined to defeat anything Obama tried, and he was supported in this by tea-party hardliner Joe Walsh, R-Ill.
The mainstream GOP did not support Walsh in his bid to win the newly drawn 8th district in Illinois, but he was a favorite of the state’s tea party movement. He readily signed the Grover Norquist “No New Taxes” pledge, and he maintained a no-compromise position on any legislation that proposed tax increases. Walsh, with many fellow Republican representatives, basically held the 112th Congress hostage with their adamant opposition to raising the federal debt ceiling. It was a position that cost the United States its AAA credit rating.
Then came Tammy Duckworth. This sharp young Democrat challenged Walsh, and she beat him handily.
Duckworth is a Thai-American whose ex-marine father can trace his roots back to the Revolutionary War. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii and a Masters Degree in International Relations. In addition to being the congressional representative from the 8th District in Illinois, she holds the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the Illinois National Guard.
Duckworth is a decorated Iraq War veteran.
Representative Duckworth has a wealth of experience in political office and in veteran affairs. She was the Director of the Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs from 2006 to 2009. In 2009 she was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
She recognizes that self-reliance and hard work are necessary to attain one’s dreams, but she also realizes that there are times when people need help. She herself had to use food stamps and Pell Grants to complete her education. In a speech before the Democratic Convention of 2012, she expressed her view that we as a nation must reach out to the less fortunate and help them succeed.
From the military side of her life, Duckworth knows the value of pulling together to help those who need a hand up. She knows what it means to roll-up your sleeves and help your fellow Americans to succeed. She knows that by working together, whether on the battle field of war or in the halls of Congress, we can move our nation forward.
From this curmudgeon’s view, Tammy Duckworth is a person who can make our Congress effective once more.
Note: Ms. Duckworth was accidentally identified as Chinese-American, when in fact she is Thai-American. We regret the error.
Larry Momo writes for both Washington Times Communities Politics and the San Pedro News Pilot.
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