Duckworth resigns from VA post

Monday - 6/13/2011, 7:00pm EDT

By Jolie Lee
Federal News Radio

Tammy Duckworth submitted her resignation from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth has served as VA Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs since 2009 and, prior to that, as director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs.

"Her unwavering dedication to veterans and their families has strengthened VA's ability to perform our mission — providing veterans the health care and benefits they have earned," said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki in a statement.

The Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet reports that the likely reason for Duckworth's departure is to have the option of running for an Illinois House seat. In 2006, Duckworth ran as a Democrat for a House seat but lost to the Republican candidate.

Sweet writes that Duckworth has a better chance of winning the race due to a proposed redistricting that favors Democrats.

Duckworth also has strong political connections. In her 2006 race, she was supported by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Sweet reports.

A former major in the Illinois Army National Guard, Duckworth was a Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in a 2004 mission in Iraq. She has received the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Combat Action Badge.