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Tammy Duckworth

April 16, 2018

Tammy Duckworth is many things, a United States senator, a veteran, and now a mother of two. Duckworth (D-IL) recently made history, becoming the first U.S. senator to give birth while in office.

Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, welcomed a baby girl named Maile on Monday, April 9. Their first daughter, Abigail, was born in late 2014. On Monday, Duckworth tweeted, “Bryan, Abigail and I couldn’t be happier to welcome little Maile Pearl as the newest addition to our family and we’re deeply honored that our good friend Senator Akaka was able to bless her name for us—his help in naming both of our daughters means he will always be with us.” Akaka was a senator from Hawaii, who recently passed on April 6.

A spokesman for the senator explained that Duckworth plans to take about 12 weeks off from her position, but will be nearby for “close votes as needed.” When she first announced her pregnancy, Duckworth also opened up about her struggles with becoming pregnant and with a miscarriage in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Maile’s birth makes Duckworth an even more noteworthy politician since she is now the only senator to give birth while serving her term. A statement from Duckworth explains that her role as a mother gives her an important — and underrepresented — perspective in the halls of Congress.” Duckworth has been a senator since 2017 and was a representative from Illinois’ 8th district for four years prior. She was the first Asian-American woman to be elected to Congress, and also the first disabled woman to be elected to office. The senator has previously served as Assistant Secretary of Veteran Affairs, a position she was appointed to by former President Barack Obama.

During her time in the military, Duckworth was a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army and an Iraq War veteran. Duckworth’s website explains, “In 2004, Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. On November 12, 2004, her helicopter was hit by an RPG and Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm.”

Duckworth’s commitment to her work and her family make her an inspiration to many young women who also someday hope to achieve the balance that Duckworth has. Sophomore Mackenzie Fletcher says, “I think stories like hers are very inspirational. It’s a huge deal that she was the first woman to have a baby in office, and I think it’s very interesting that she uses her experience as a mother to drive the issues she cares about.”

Kaelin Sommer
News Editor

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