Yes, Tammy Duckworth’s Ancestors Served in the Revolution. Now She’ll Serve in the Senate.

War hero defeats incumbent Illinois Senator Mark Kirk

Tammy DuckworthHarry E. Walker/TNS/ZUMAPRESS

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Tammy Duckworth won an Illinois Senate seat today, according to ABC News and Huffington Post exit polls. Duckworth will take Republican incumbent Mark Kirk’s seat in a race that will help determine whether Democrats will hold a Senate majority. Duckworth, a veteran who lost both her legs during the Iraq War, is currently serving her second term in Congress, representing Illinois’ 8th district.

Duckworth held a strong lead throughout the race: Illinois typically leans Democratic during presidential elections and Hillary Clinton has consistently been favored to win the state. Donald Trump’s campaign hasn’t helped Kirk, a first-term senator who was one of the first Republican lawmakers to rescind his support for the candidate. Kirk was roundly criticized in the last weeks of the campaign when, during a candidates debate, he questioned Duckworth’s family heritage. Kirk suffered a stroke in 2012, and though he was able to resume office the next year, his health raised concerns among his supporters.

Duckworth previously served as the head of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs and as the assistant secretary to the Department of Veterans Affairs. During her time in Congress, Duckworth focused on veterans’ issues: She set up a hotline for veterans, helped cut waste in the Department of Defense, and introduced a bill to ensure breast-pumping and nursing stations for women in airports. As a senator, she says she looks forward to taking her work to the next level, with a focus on reducing student loan debt, pushing for criminal justice reform, and growing Illinois’ economy.

For more on Duckworth, read our recent interview and our profile.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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