Tammy Duckworth, who was a congressional candidate in 2006 and an AAA Fund endorsee then, and who currently heads the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, is a contender for not just one, but two national positions — and the buzz is loud. One is on her replacing Obama in his Senate seat. Second is Duckworth as Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs.
Apparently some veterans groups are pushing for Duckworth at the Cabinet-level, with the rationale that a veteran is the best to lead the agency, and that historically veterans have led the VA since it was started in 1989:
All this, of course, is insider wheeling-and-dealing. Duckworth brings qualifications to the post that extend well beyond the personal and political connections. And she could very well earn the appointment on these merits alone.
“You think about probably the best head of the VA we’ve ever had, and that was Max Cleland, who came home wounded from Vietnam, and was deeply involved in the veterans system in Georgia, then brought that experience to Washington,” said Soltz. “Tammy is similar to Max in many respects, and I think what she brings to the table is too valuable to leave out in Illinois.”
I think Duckworth would make a fine Secretary of the VA, and if you are inclined, sign VoteVets’ petition to get Max Cleland and Tammy Duckworth into the administration. Duckworth would be the first woman, and the first Asian American to head that agency. It should be noted that outgoing President George Bush had two Asian Americans in his cabinet, Elaine Chao at Labor and former Congressman Norm Mineta at Transportation, who previously served under President Clinton as Secretary of Commerce.
It would be a historic nomination, one that shatters glass ceilings, not unlike Obama’s own story. But Duckworth would be a good choice not just because she is a woman, or because she is Asian American, but because she’s well qualified for the position. And I believe that Obama is committed to having the best talent fill each position in his administration.
On the question of the Senate seat, there was a vigorous debate over at dailykos based on brownsox’s post that Dan Seals, another AAA Fund endorsee for this cycle, was on the short list for Obama’s Senate seat. It would certainly be exciting to have the first Asian American statewide elected figure from Illinois be a woman, so either way Duckworth definitely has options and a bright future as a public servant.