Tammy Duckworth adjusts to Capitol Hill life, sets tone for term

January 22, 2013 (WASHINGTON)

Freshman Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth has been busy adjusting to life on Capitol Hill since she was sworn in.

The double-amputee war hero is already one of the most appreciated members of Congress.

The Illinois freshman is learning the longer, wheelchair-friendly routes to meetings and hearings then back to her prime first-floor office.

Republican House Speaker John Boehner specially ordered equipment for Democrat Duckworth. Boehner is using his own office budget to pay for Duckworth's special aide.

"They have just bent over backwards making push button doors so my office is completely wheelchair-accessible," Duckworth said.

Veteran Duckworth pulled what for her is a perfect assignment on the House Armed Services Committee.

"I don't think everybody here in Congress should be a veteran but I think having some of us here who've seen the struggles on the ground from the foot soldier's perspective is important," Duckworth said.

"Yes, I was wounded and it was something that happened but it opened up new opportunities and I took those opportunities," she said.

She said she vows to be a different kind of lawmaker than her predecessor Joe Walsh.

"You're going to see me talk to folks from across the aisle a lot because it's time to get some work done here," Duckworth said.

Duckworth lost a congressional bid in 2006.

The fact she ran again and won is another chapter in her healing that began in Iraq just over nine years ago, she said.

"You know we all fall down. The important thing is to keep getting up and keep trying and trying new things. And just because you have a defeat in one aspect of your life doesn't mean that you can't be wildly successful somewhere else," Duckworth said.

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