Recent political attacks may have made for an awkward, if cordial, Veterans Day for two possible U.S. Senate rivals. John Gregory reports.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and one of the Democrats looking to unseat him, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates), were on the same stage Wednesday at a Veterans Day event in Chicago. Kirk says since they’re both veterans—he a former Naval Reserve intelligence officer and she a former U.S. Army helicopter pilot—their political rivalry can be temporarily set aside.
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“You put that away on Veterans (Day), we’re all one team, one fight,” Kirk said.
Duckworth said her focus for the day was on veterans, but did address claims coming from the Illinois Republican Party that she’s “ignored” problems at Veterans Administration hospitals, particularly the Hines VA in Hines, Illinois.
“Veterans are my life’s work,” Duckworth said. “Until my last dying breath, I will be fighting for veterans, whether it is one veteran that’s waiting or a thousand veterans. Even just one is too many and we can always do better.”
Both Duckworth and Kirk have primary challengers to contend with before any general election showdown is certain. Oswego businessman James Marter is running against against Kirk, while Duckworth faces at least one other Democrat, former Chicago Urban League president Andrea Zopp.