I've been a big admirer of Senator-elect Duckworth for a long time. It's pretty well known that she's a Purple Heart recipient from her actions in the Iraq War, becoming a double-amputee, and she also received the Air Medal and Army Commendation Medal. (During the presidential campaign, she famously responded to Donald Trump saying how he'd always wanted to get a Purple Heart and that it was "much easier this way" when a supporter handed him one. She sent out a tweet with a photo her in the hospital with her Purple Heart pinned to her hospital gown, writing, " This is how one usually looks when you are awarded the Purple Heart. Nothing easy about it."
She had been a U.S. Congresswoman from the 8th district in Illinois, most-happily defeating the repugnant Joe Walsh. So, if you're glad that he's out of Congress, you have Tammy Duckworth to thank. Previous to that she was Director of Illinois Department of Veteran Affairs, had had also been the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
In yesterday's election, she defeated the sitting-Senator Mark Kirk. I don't have particularly mixed feelings about that -- I'm thrilled that she won -- but Mr. Kirk is one of the more moderate Republicans in the Senate, fairly reasonable on social matters and one of the first GOP Senators who said he wouldn't endorse Donald Trump. He's much more conservative in other matters, but wasn't someone I thought was problematic. When my parents moved to Glenview from Glencoe about a decade ago, Mark Kirk was their Congressman -- one of the reasons Kirk was reasonably moderate. Though some of the suburbs are quite conservative, others (like that part of Glenview) were pretty liberal. In fact, the representative of that district now is the wonderful Jan Schakowsky.
I also admire Sen. Kirk for a fighting spirit after he suffered a stroke a few years back, and worked hard to get back to the Senate. But he was running in what is now a Blue state, made some ill-advised comments about Barack Obama during the race (not a good idea in the president's home state...), had a problematic exchange about Tammy Duckworth's family history of military service (although, in fairness, he was pretty far behind at that point), and had his own problems in the past having exaggerated his military service.
In the end, Tammy Duckworth is a terrific person and it's great that she is going to the Senate.
So...well, that's one good thing from Tuesday.