Tammy Duckworth sworn-in as new US senator for Illinois - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Tammy Duckworth sworn-in as new US senator for Illinois

(Source: Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth) (Source: Office of Senator Tammy Duckworth)

Vice President Joe Biden has sworn in Tammy Duckworth as Illinois' new U.S. senator at a ceremony in Washington.

Duckworth's press secretary, Sean Savett, said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois escorted Duckworth to the Tuesday afternoon ceremony.

Savett said Duckworth and the vice president also did a traditional recreation of the ceremony shortly afterward and her family, including her 2-year-old daughter Abigail and her husband Bryan were there.

Duckworth is a Democratic two-term representative from Hoffman Estates. She defeated incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk in the November general election. Duckworth is the second woman to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate.

Duckworth is a veteran and served as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs. She also worked in the federal VA.

Before her swearing-in, she told KFVS some of her plans once in office and also how she became this interested in politics.

When asked how she got interested in politics and what was her rise into politics, Duckworth had a simple answer.

"Well, I'd never been interested in participating in elected office or in politics I was just a soldier," she said. "I was wounded and through my injuries and spending time at the hospital I became a veteran's advocate. When I was at Walter Reed as a patient, I happened to be for about eight months the highest ranking amputee patient at the hospital."

You might say she took an unconventional route.

"Well, unconventional for a lot of politicians, but very common for female politicians," Duckworth said. "You hear a lot of women politicians who get into politics not because it's what they always planned on but because they somehow found their way there because they became an advocate for something they care very deeply about. They start off on the PTA and they end up in the senate."

Duckworth served 23 years in the army and then after served for both the Illinois Department of Veterans affairs but the national VA as well.

However, she cited her time in the army as what's really helping her in her new career.

"You know when you're in uniform it doesn't matter if that guy or the gal to your left or right where they're from whether they're from Chicago or southern Illinois or whether they are from a rich family a poor family whether the black or white or like me Asian," said Duckworth. "It only matters that they're wearing the same uniform. They got the same US flag patch on their shoulder. And that you're in the fight together." 

Duckworth said she plans to fight for all Illinoisans, no matter the party, and focus on issues like education and manufacturing. 

"All of those things are our shared concerns that we have with this great state and this great nation and that does not have political labels"

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Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.

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