Duckworth: There’s work to be done

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) spoke online to the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University. (WJBC file photo)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) says Congress must pass an infrastructure bill, and crumbling roads and unsafe bridges are only part of the reason.

“We can’t get grain down the Mississippi River fast enough to the southeastern parts of the United States,” Duckworth said. “States like South Carolina and Georgia are actually buying grain from Brazil, because it’s faster to get grain shipped from Brazil than to buy it from Illinois, because the locks and dams of the Mississippi are in such disrepair.”

Duckworth, speaking online to the Paul Simon Institute at Southern Illinois University, also shared – as she has in her book, Every Day Is a Gift, parts of her compelling personal story, which includes losing her legs in Iraq but also an indigent childhood.

She said the high school yearbook sponsor would frequently call Duckworth and other students in after school to fix his mistakes, then give the group ten dollars for Taco Bell. Duckworth said it was only later that she realized there were no mistakes – the teacher just wanted to make sure the “food stamp kids” had something to eat; the sort of kindness and sacrifice teachers display even today.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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