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Tammy Duckworth resigns from VA, may run for Congress

FILE - This Nov. 7 2008 file phoshows then Illinois' Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth during news conference Chicago. The

FILE - This Nov. 7, 2008 file photo shows then Illinois' Veterans Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth during a news conference in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday, June 13, 2011, that Duckworth has resigned her position as the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Duckworth was a helicopter pilot in Iraq when she lost both her legs and partial use of one arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in 2004. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

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Updated: August 3, 2011 8:36PM

WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth submitted her resignation, the VA confirmed for me on Monday.

One of her options will be to return to the Chicago suburbs to run for a House seat from the new 8th Congressional District and I bet she does.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki told the Chicago Sun-Times in a statement, “Assistant Secretary Duckworth has submitted her resignation. She has served the Department of Veterans Affairs with distinction. 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.

“Tammy Duckworth uniquely understands the needs of today’s veterans and their families, and her commitment to serving veterans and increasing VA’s outreach has helped the department serve more veterans and serve them well. We will miss her advocacy and leadership, but wish her the very best in the years to come.”

In 2006, Duckworth, 43, ran for the House in the present 6th Congressional District. She lost to Rep. Peter Roskam in a close race.

If Duckworth ran for the House again, she would have a much stronger position than the first time around. Her resume is more formidable — since 2006, she has run the Illinois veterans agency and has been one of the top VA officials in Washington — and she would be running from a more Democratic district.

Her Hoffman Estates home is in the proposed new 8th District, designed by Illinois Democrats to have a Democratic tilt.The new 8th contains territory from the present 6th District.

When Duckworth ran in 2006, her candidacy was supported by Sen. Dick Durbin, then Sen. Barack Obama and then Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who was then running the House political operation.

Duckworth lost both legs and shattered an arm when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq in November 2004.

Duckworth was tapped by Obama in February 2009 for one of the top spots in the VA: assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Duckworth was born in Thailand and grew up in Hawaii. Her husband, Maj. Bryan Bowlsbey, is an Iraq war vet and a National Guard officer. Duckworth is a major in the Illinois National Guard.

In Hawaii over Memorial Day, Duckworth closed down rumors she may run for a Senate seat from her native Hawaii.

Said Duckworth: “My home and my National Guard unit are in Illinois. And if I run for office again, it’ll be there,” she told Hawaii reporters.

There is a potential for a Democratic primary. Former Deputy Illinois Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi has already announced he will run. He lost his Democratic primary election for state comptroller in 2010.

Former 8th Distict Rep. Melissa Bean is the new president and CEO of The Executives’ Club of Chicago and is not looking for a rematch in 2012.

Gov. Quinn has not yet signed the new map, which will be challenged in federal court by Illinois Republicans. No Republican has yet staked a claim in the new 8th.

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