By Courtney Dillard
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-8th) defeated rival Larry Kaifesh (R) Tuesday night shortly before 11 p.m. It was the only race in this election cycle between two Iraq War veterans.
Duckworth captured 57 percent of the vote, slightly higher than two years ago. In 2012 she defeated incumbent Republican Joe Walsh with 55 percent of the vote.
She promised to keep fighting for military families. “I will continue to be the advocate for our veterans in Congress to achieve good jobs and quality health care,” she said. “I view it as my responsibility to stand up for those whose voices aren’t always heard in the halls of Congress.”
Duckworth’s supporters applauded when she stated her promise to work toward raising the minimum wage. “No one who works 40 hours a week should be living below the poverty line,” she said.
Duckworth promised to continue the work she started in 2013. “I’m proud of what I accomplished in my first term in Washington, and the result tonight means I get to return to move our nation forward, she said. “We advocated for small businesses, for veterans, for working families, for manufacturers and for our villages and cities across the 8th.”
“She’s truthful, and she’s honest,” said Bill Collins, campaign supporter. “She cares about things that are important to the little man.” Collins and his son attended Duckworth’s 2012 swearing-in in Washington D.C.
This will be Duckworth’s second term. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. She recently sponsored the Military Opportunities for Mothers Act to increase the length of maternity leave for women in the military from six to 12 weeks.
Duckworth retired from the military in October. She was the first disabled military veteran in Congress. She and her husband Bryan, a Major in the U.S. Army, are expecting a baby girl in December.