With her toddler daughter in her lap, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth cast her ballot downtown Wednesday as her closely watched race against Sen. Mark Kirk nears an end.
“Make a plan to go vote, and please vote,” said Duckworth, voting early at 69 W. Washington. “Turn out. Exercise your democracy. Those men and women who wear the uniform of this great nation [who] have sacrificed for this nation did it so you have the right to vote.”
Later in the day, Duckworth was at a fundraising reception in the city before heading to Springfield for a debate with Kirk.
Of her opponent, Duckworth said: “Mark Kirk is perfectly capable of performing his duties as senator. I just don’t think he’s been doing the job.”
Kirk’s mental capacity became an issue after his 2012 stroke and after some well-publicized gaffes. Earlier this year, a doctor who treated Kirk said the senator has made a “full cognitive recovery” from the stroke.
Duckworth said Wednesday her constituents “deserve someone who is going to fight for them, and I’m going to fight for working families all across the state.”
During a week in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has blasted premium increases under the Affordable Care Act, Duckworth said the law needs fixing — but not abandoning.
“In no way am I going to support getting rid of the Affordable Care Act because it’s going to hurt women. . . . It’s going to hurt young people who can stay on their parents health insurance until they’re 26, and all of those Americans who have a pre-existing condition, finally have health care through the affordable care act,” Duckworth said. “To take that away from them now is not acceptable.”
In response, Kirk’s campaign manager, Kevin Artl, said: “Senator Kirk believes the Affordable Care Act needs to be reformed. Two of the most important changes must be lawsuit reform and the ability to purchase insurance from any state to create a competitive market.
“Representative Duckworth has been rated one of the least effective members of Congress while Senator Kirk has delivered proven results like forming a bipartisan coalition to save the Export-Import Bank, passing record-level funding for the VA and securing millions in funding to fight gangs of national significance.”