Nov. 6, 2012 – 11:15 p.m.

113th Congress: Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill. (8th District)

Though Tammy Duckworth will arrive on Capitol Hill with extensive military and veterans affairs experience, like many incoming freshmen she says her central concern is bringing jobs to her Illinois district.

Her fiscal concerns extend to taxes and spending. She backs ending tax cuts for upper-income earners and using the revenue to prop up Medicare, and has voiced support for the “Buffett Rule,” which would establish a minimum tax for millionaires. Duckworth, who lost a high-profile race for the House in 2006, says she would seek to reduce the deficit by cutting defense spending and ending tax breaks for oil companies and agribusiness.

She is a strong champion of veterans’ issues — until recently she served in the Obama administration as an assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs — and supports programs to treat post traumatic stress disorder and tax credits for companies that hire returning veterans. She said her background could qualify her for a position on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, though the needs of her district have her considering a push for a spot on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Duckworth, who lost both of her legs when her helicopter was shot down during a tour in Iraq, supports the health care overhaul enacted in 2010, though says she is willing to tweak the law to minimize burdens on employers.

“I ultimately support an eventual move to a single-payer system, but understand that it is unrealistic to achieve in the coming decades,” she says.