Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, the first sitting US senator to give birth while in office, offered a heartfelt Mother’s Day message on Sunday, celebrating moms nationwide for “growing the next generation for our nation.”
“Hang in there, sister. We’re in this together, and nobody has perfect work-life balance, everybody struggles, and so do the best that you can,” the Democrat told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
“You’re what keeps this country strong.”
Duckworth and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey, are the parents of two daughters, Abigail and Maile. Abigail was born while Duckworth was serving in the US House as a Chicago-area congresswoman.
In 2018, after giving birth to Maile, Duckworth became the first US senator to cast a vote on the floor with her newborn by her side.
Her vote came just one day after the Senate changed long-standing rules to allow newborns on the chamber floor during votes. The rule change, voted through by unanimous consent, was done to accommodate senators with newborn babies and lets them bring children under 1 year old onto the Senate floor and breastfeed them during votes.
“It feels great,” Duckworth told reporters at the time. “It is about time, huh?”
The Illinois Democrat on Sunday spoke about Democratic efforts to pass legislation to address rising child care costs.
“Families spend as much as a quarter to half of their income on child care, and there’s no way for working families to survive under those burdens,” Duckworth said.
“We keep trying,” she added when asked by Bash about finding bipartisan solutions.
Duckworth is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was a helicopter pilot during the Iraq War. She was the first female double amputee from the war after suffering severe combat wounds when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down.
Duckworth served in the Obama administration as an assistant secretary of Veterans Affairs. She was first elected to the US House in 2012 and the Senate four years later.