U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, will run for the U.S. Senate in 2016, saying in a video posted to her website on Monday that she would "fight my heart out" for constituents.
Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs in a helicopter crash, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. She previously was an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In Congress, she serves on armed services and government oversight committees.
In the video, Duckworth, 47, said she sponsored legislation to keep lawmakers from getting paid if they could not agree on a federal government budget, and she said she returned $10,000 of her own pay and cut her office's budget.
"It's time for Washington to be held accountable," Duckworth said.
Current U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, 55, a Republican who joined the Senate in 2010, has said he will seek re-election in 2016. Democrats had discussed Duckworth as a potential challenger because she is well known nationally for her personal story and could be a formidable fundraiser.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the Senate, on Monday called Duckworth a "partisan politician."
"Senator Kirk's record of accomplishment and thoughtful independence will outshine any candidate that emerges from the Democrat primary in Illinois," NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said in a statement.
Duckworth said in the video on her website that her father had lost his job at age 55 and that her family had gone on food stamps for a period.
She called for a renewed focus on programs to help families, such as more pre-kindergarten programs for children, cheaper college loans and tax cuts for small businesses.
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