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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.