CHARLOTTE, N.C. --- Tammy Duckworth helped kick off the president's nominating convention with a bang, but that doesn't mean she's a yes-woman for his policies, she says. In an interview with U.S. News, the Illinois congressional candidate and Iraq War veteran expressed concern with one of the signature initiatives of President Obama's first term.
"I'm very concerned about what healthcare reform is going to do to small businesses," she says, pointing to the small businesses in her district that could take "quite a hit" when reform is fully implemented. The law requires that all businesses with over 50 employees provide health insurance or face steep fines.
"We need to make sure that health care reform is done in such a way that workers get access to healthcare, but that businesses are not taking too big a hit," she says.
However, she also thinks that the act contains vital provisions, particularly for women, noting that the legislation "makes being a woman no longer a pre-existing condition."
Duckworth earned some of the loudest applause on the opening night of the Democratic Convention, telling the story of how she lost her legs while serving in Iraq and touting the president's track record with veterans. The speech put her on the national stage, but she has already proven popular in her district. A mid-August poll put her 9 points ahead of her Republican opponent, Rep. Joe Walsh.
If elected, she says, she is willing to compromise with Republicans on fiscal matters. The candidate points to the "disastrous" economic effects of scheduled spending cuts looming at the end of the year as an example of the dangers of stubbornness.
"You know, I don't agree with President Obama on everything, I don't agree with Democratic leadership on everything," she says. "Frankly, I'm going to Washington not to say yes to everything the president wants me to say yes to, but I'm also not going to go to say no to everything Speaker Boehner wants to say, either."