Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Duckworth nomination to top VA post advances

Duckworth nomination to top VA post advances

SPRINGFIELD - A U.S. Senate committee has approved Tammy Duckworth's nomination to a top job in the federal Department of Veterans Affairs. The full Senate must now approve her appointment before she takes the job.

Duckworth, of Hoffman Estates, saw her nomination held up earlier this month by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who said he had questions concerning paperwork Duckworth submitted to the committee. A spokesman for Burr said at the time the senator was just doing "due diligence" on the nomination.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously approved Duckworth's nomination Monday night. The full Senate could approve her nomination as soon as today.

"While I have been frustrated that this vote was held up and her confirmation delayed, I am pleased that Tammy received the unanimous support of the committee," said U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat.

President Barack Obama chose Duckworth to be the public face of the VA as assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs. She was previously head of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

Duckworth lost a 2006 campaign for Congress against U.S. Rep Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican. She appeared with Obama several times during his 2008 presidential bid and gave the keynote speech on veterans issues at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

She served as an assistant operations officer for a 500-soldier aviation task force in Iraq. She lost both of her legs when she was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade while piloting a helicopter in 2004.


Congratulations to a fine leader, and one many of us veterans have been waiting for. Just don't forget us now that you made the big time.

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