Heard on the Hill

Take Five: Tammy Duckworth

Illinois Democrat says the Senate is not as ‘cordial’ and ‘laid-back’ as people said it would be

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said she wouldn’t be in the Senate if she had gone on more CODELs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Freshman Sen. Tammy Duckworth, 49, an Illinois Democrat, talks about the loss of bipartisanship in the Senate, the worst advice she’s received and which Disney princess she is.

Q: What is one thing that’s standing in the way of you doing your job?

A: There’s only 24 hours in one day. If there were 26 or 28, that would be helpful. But I think just the loss of bipartisanship. I came over to the Senate, and everybody said it was going to be more cordial, more laid-back; you can build up more relationships. Frankly, I have not felt that way. It’s been as divisive here as it has been in the House. Not that I could miss it, because I wasn’t here when it existed — but I miss the idea of the congeniality that used to exist in the Senate.

[Take Five: Raja Krishnamoorthi]

Q: What’s the worst advice you’ve received from another senator or member of Congress?

A: Oh my gosh. Probably to go on as many CODELs [congressional trips] as I can. He was like, “This is your advantage, take advantage, go on as many CODELs as possible.” It wasn’t the worst advice; I just never followed it. In fact, I’ve only gone on one in the entire time [I’ve been in Congress]. If I had gone on as many CODELs as I could as a member of the House, I wouldn’t be a senator today.

UNITED STATES - MAY 16: From left, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., conclude a news conference after the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on May 16, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Duckworth, center, said Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, left, is her role model. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Q: I hear that you do BuzzFeed quizzes online. What’s the last one you did?

A: It’s funny, because I think it’s aimed more at millennials. But the latest one was, “If you remember this thing from your childhood, then you definitely were born in the 1990s.” It’s hilarious, because the 1990s were sort of when I came of age. I was in flight school; I was a young adult at the time. Much of it is overplucked eyebrows and all that stuff. I think that was the last one I did.

[Take Five: Tom O’Halleran]

Q: Which quiz is your favorite?

A: Me and my staff do the “Which princess are you?” quiz on a regular basis to see what Disney princess we are. I am Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog.” It’s the one I never watched, so I don’t know how I got her. I was hoping for Mulan — but no, I didn’t get Mulan.

[Take Five: Mike Johnson]

Q: Why do you prefer the “Game of Thrones” books over the show?

A: I just read through all the books, and there were so many more details. I read the entire series. I think it’s like a lot of folks who read the book series versus seeing the movie and then are always a little disappointed with the movie version. Plus, I just don’t have time if I have to binge-watch.

I think the last text that I fully read was the “Game of Thrones” series. I usually have four or five books going at any time on Audible. I like being read to. It reminds me of elementary school.

[Take Five: Ro Khanna]

Quick hits

Last book read: [On Audible], I’m doing “White Rage” by Carol Anderson, which [Sen. Richard J.] Durbin recommended to the entire caucus. I’m also doing “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” and “In Farleigh Field.”  

Last movie seen: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Favorite song of all time: “Purple Rain” by Prince.

Role models: Senator Dick Durbin, and along with him, [former Sen.] Paul Simon. Those are the kind of senators I want to be after I’ve been here a long time.

Closest to in Congress: [Reps.] Brad Schneider, Cheri Bustos and of course, Dick Durbin.

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