Obama Names Tammy Duckworth to VA
President Obama has nominated Tammy Duckworth to serve as assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Iraq war veteran currently serves as a major in the Illinois National Guard and as the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. The former Democratic congressional candidate was once a leading contender for the top spot at VA, now held by former Gen. Eric Shinsheki.
"Effective communications with Veterans and VA's stakeholders is key to improving our services and ensuring Veterans receive the benefits they deserve," Shinsheki said in a statement. "Tammy Duckworth brings significant talent, leadership and personal experience to this important work."
If confirmed by the Senate, Duckworth will serve as the chief spokesperson of the VA, responsible for its public affairs, internal communications and intergovernmental relations. She will also have oversight of homeless Veterans programs and the department's consumer affairs and special rehabilitative events. The position places Duckworth in the middle of the VA food chain, but her appointment, combined with Shinsheki's leadership of VA, means Obama has appointed at least two vocal Iraq war critics to operate the department tasked with assisting Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Duckworth served as an Army Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was an assistant operations officer for a 500-soldier aviation task force. She suffered serious injuries in 2004 when a helicopter she was operating was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Duckworth lost both legs and partial use of one arm in the incident. She was appointed by now-former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) to her current state position in 2006, after losing a bid for Congress.
Born in Thailand in 1968, Duckworth was raised in Hawaii. She graduated from the University of Hawaii and earned a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington.
| February 3, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
Categories: Administration, Agencies and Departments, Revolving Door
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