April 22, 2009, Chicago, IL — The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Iraq War helicopter pilot Tammy Duckworth’s nomination as an assistant secretary at the Veterans Affairs Department.
Duckworth will direct the Office of Public Affairs and Intergovernmental Communications. Among other things, the Illinois National Guard major will oversee VA’s public affairs operations, as well as programs for homeless veterans.
“President Obama and America’s veterans now have Tammy Duckworth as their advocate and champion,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said in a statement. “I know Tammy will bring the same level of commitment to the VA that she has shown in fighting for her country and representing Illinois veterans.”
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, the top Republican on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, delayed Duckworth’s nomination earlier this month, saying he wanted more due diligence. A spokesman at the time said Burr wanted “to ensure that veterans have the best representation possible.”
Duckworth, a major in the Illinois National Guard, lost both her legs and partial use of one arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in 2004. She ran for Congress as a Democrat in 2006, but lost.
On Feb. 3, Obama nominated her to the VA position. Soon after, she stepped down from her position as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, where she had worked since 2006.