Tammy Duckworth is a former Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the 2006 Democrat candidate for Illinois's 6th congressional district. Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot whose severe combat wounds cost her both of her legs and damaged her right arm. Despite having served in Iraq, she opposed and opposes Operation Iraqi Freedom, making this a central theme of her campaign. Despite this, and despite massive endorsements from various liberal politicians, such as former President Bill Clinton, and Hollywood figures, Duckworth lost the election by 2%. Some have blamed this defeat on a focus on non-local issues, compared to her opponent, Peter Roskam, a Republican local politician, and for constant criticism of foreign policy.
She was appointed to her former role as Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs by President Barack Obama in 2009. Duckworth resigned from that position on Monday, June 30, 2011. In July 2011 she launched her campaign to run in 2012 for Illinois's 8th congressional district against Congressman Joe Walsh, who she won the election against.