12 Tea Partiers On The Edge

Heck is a first-term Congressman from Nevada, who won in 2010 against incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus.

This year, Heck faces a serious challenge in Nevada Assembly speaker John Oceguera. He’s also been the subject of a scandal: as BuzzFeed reported last month, Heck’s ex-wife accused him of assaulting her in court documents from 1988. He’s also representing a district in suburban Las Vegas that has continue to suffer since the housing crisis.

2. Allen West

Robert Sullivan / Reuters

Over the past two years, West, who represents a district in South Florida, has proved himself one of the most talked-about members of Congress. He’s a bona fide Tea Party star, as well as a veteran, and has built a national profile. He’s one of the most successful fundraisers in Congress, raising more than $10 million in this campaign.

But another victory won’t be easy. West is basically neck-and-neck with his challenger, Patrick Murphy, a 29-year-old businessman. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, eyeing a tight race, is starting to run ads against him. Murphy and the DCCC together could be successful at painting West as just a little too extreme this year. He has accused Debbie Wasserman Schultz of being “vile,” “despicable,” and “not a lady,” and has said that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels would be “very proud” of the Democratic Party, among numerous other controversial statements.

Canseco, who represents southwest Texas’ 23rd district, has run for Congress three times, and finally won in 2010. He’s known for being controversial — in February, for example, he said that Planned Parenthood is a “front for mass murder.”

Canseco’s district was redrawn this year and the redistricting may benefit him. But his opponent Pete Gallego has found opportunity in Canseco’s conservative views — in a majority-Hispanic district, Canseco has opposed the DREAM act, for example.

In a poll out this week, Gallego leads Canseco by a slim margin.

Dold is a Republican in a blue district of Illinois. His opponent this year is Brad Schneider, a centrist Democrat whose past donations to Republicans became a campaign issue during the primary against 25-year-old former MoveOn organizer Ilya Sheyman.

Dold was swept in on the 2010 wave but isn’t an across-the-board conservative; he has sponsored pro-Planned Parenthood legislation, for example. But Dold has signed the Norquist tax pledge and has been vocally against the stimulus, which could put him in the difficult position of being too conservative for his district.

A Democratic poll from last month had Dold and Schneider tied.

5. Michael Grimm

Grimm, a Staten Island Republican and former FBI agent, came in to office on a wave of endorsements from big-name Republicans like John McCain, Sarah Palin, and New York’s own Rudy Giuliani.

But Grimm has come under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons lately; a former fundraiser was arrested, and a probe was launched into Grimm’s fundraising. And he was one of the congressmen who attracted attention for a boisterous swim in the Sea of Galilee earlier this year.

He’s still leading his opponent Mark Murphy, though Murphy released internal polling last month that put the race within reach.

6. Ann Marie Buerkle

Buerkle won her seat in an upset over incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Maffei in 2010 in New York’s upstate 24th district.

This year, it’s a rematch between her and Maffei — and it’s close. The most recent independent poll shows the two tied at 43 percent. And in the same poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 19 points in the district.

7. Joe Walsh

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Illinois congressman Joe Walsh is facing Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran and amputee, and this is the root of his problems this year.

Duckworth has made a splash and is leading Walsh by nine points in the most recent Public Policy Polling poll. Walsh came under heavy criticism for suggesting that Duckworth talked about her military service too much — a controversy which led to a much-talked-about CNN appearance in which Walsh tried to argue with Ashleigh Banfield by repeating “Ashleigh” dozens of times.

Since then, Duckworth has picked up steam, speaking at the Democratic National Convention, and attacked Walsh for being a “Tea Party loudmouth.” In July, it came out that Walsh owed his ex-wife over $100,000 in child support.

8. Bobby Schilling

Charles Rex Arbogast, File / AP

Schilling is another Republican in a Democratic district, this time in Illinois, who was voted in in 2010.

He’s running against Cheri Bustos, a former journalist and health care executive. Both are relative political newcomers — this is his first term in Congress, and Bustos’ experience extends to her local city council.

The race is viewed as a tossup. Schilling has made a couple blunders lately — first by saying that Hispanic people couldn’t learn English easily because they’d never really learned Spanish, and yesterday by walking out on a group of voters asking questions at a town hall.

9. Sean Duffy

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Sean Duffy represents Wisconsin’s northwestern 7th congressional district, which went for President Obama in 2008. He’s also famously an alumnus of MTV’s “The Real World,” having appeared on the show in 1997 in Boston. (Duffy also participated in a Real World: Road Rules Challenge in 2001 in Cabo San Lucas.

Duffy finds himself in a close race with State Senator Pat Kreitlow, who also has a TV background as a local news broadcaster. Wisconsin is an important swing state on the presidential, senatorial, and House levels this year, and the DCCC started running ads against Duffy in August.

10. Daniel Webster

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

Another Florida congressman, Webster used to be Speaker of the Florida Assembly.

He’s running against Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief who, according to the Tampa Bay Times, is “pegged as a rising star.” She introduced Bill Clinton at an event recently in Orlando.

Webster isn’t in as much trouble as some of the other names on this list, largely due to redistricting that benefits him. However, outside groups have been spending more on Demings than on Webster.

11. Chip Cravaack

Cravaack is a Navy veteran who won his seat in a Democratic district in northeastern Minnesota.

Democratic polling at the end of August showed his opponent, former Rep. Rick Nolan, with a slim lead over Cravaack. Both have attracted national interest — and national groups spending money on trying to knock them out.

To Cravaack’s advantage, he has far outraised Nolan so far.

12. Dan Benishek

Benishek represents Michigan’s First district, the former domain of Bart Stupak.

Benishek, like Duffy, spoke at the Republican National Convention this year, and Speaker John Boehner fundraised for him in Grand Rapids earlier this month.

Roll Call rates his race against Gary McDowell (whom he ran against in 2010 also) as a tossup. He’s been the target of outside spending from the DCCC, unions, Americans United for Change, and the League of Conservation Voters.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/12-tea-partiers-on-the-edge


The House Veterans Affairs Committee is grilling officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs about the scandal that has enveloped the VA and the Obama administration.


Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp, who sits on the committee, is documenting what’s happening at the hearing:


Editor’s note: This post has been updated to include additional tweets.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/05/28/bureaucratic-doublespeak-rep-tim-huelskamp-documents-lame-excuses-at-va-hearing/

It’s hard to say how many diseases came to exist over the decades or centuries, but at least most scientists have a general idea how common illnesses came to be. They, however, have no idea how the odd illnesses below happen… or how to stop them from happening.

Most of these are extremely rare and unusual, but that shouldn’t be why doctors are unable to come to a consensus on why they occur. That just makes these even more terrifying.

1.) Gulf War Syndrome: This illness was reported by combat veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Their symptoms included immune system disorders, birth defects, chronic fatigue, loss of muscle control, headaches, dizziness and loss of balance, memory problems, muscle and joint pain, indigestion, skin problems, shortness of breath and even insulin resistance. The official cause is unknown, but some theories suggest the source of the illness was anthrax vaccines given to soldiers, the use of depleted uranium for weaponry, exposure to chemical weapons destroyed in various bombings or an unknown bacteria.

2.) Twentieth Century Disease: Also known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), this disease is described as a chronic condition where the patient reacts to explosure to low levels of chemicals in modern environments (like detergerent or synthetic fabrics). Blinded trials have shown that MCS patients do not actually react to chemicals, but they do react in unblinded tests when they believe they are being exposed to a trigger.

3.) Stiff Person Syndrome: This rare condition causes a person to have random, strong muscle spasms. SPS is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms. More women than men are affected by this syndrome.

4.) Morgellons Disease: This disease is characterized by symptoms including crawling, biting, and stinging sensations, finding fibers on or under the skin and persistent skin lesions. It’s unsure if this disease is misleading label for symptoms associated with other diseases or a specific condition that could be confirmed in the future.

5.) Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome: This condition is characterized by recurring attacks of intense nausea, vomiting and sometimes abdominal pain, headaches and migraines. It usually develops during childhood. People can grow out of it during adolescence, but it can persist into adulthood. The cause has not been determined and there are no diagnostic tests for it.

6.) Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: People with this condition experience symptoms that they believe are caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields. During most trials, patients were unable to detect the electromagnetic fields. In 2005, the World Health Organization concluded that there is no known scientific basis for the belief that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.

7.) Nodding Disease: A child with this disease’s growth appears to be permanently stunted, as well as the growth of the brain. It is named nodding disease because it causes pathological nodding, which is actually a seizure. The seizure, which can be severe, begins when the victim begins to eat food, or when they feel cold. The stunted growth in seizures results in mental development disorders.

8.) The Peruvian Meteorite Illness: When the Carancas meteorite fell on September 15, 2007, this illness was born. A large chondritic meteorite crashed near the village of Carancas in Peru. Officials claimed that “boiling water started coming out of the crater, and particles of rock and cinders were found nearby”, as “fetid, noxious” gases spewed from the meteorite’s crater. Villagers began falling ill with a wide array of symptoms, including vomiting. Some speculate this was arsenic poisoning, but there is no consensus on the matter.

9.) Sweating Sickness: This mysterious and contagious disease struck England and Europe between 1485 and up until 1551. The onset of symptoms was dramatic and sudden. Death would often occur within hours. No one knows the cause of the disease, which seemed to have been more virulent among the rich.

10.) Exploding Head Syndrome: This is a condition that causes a person to experience extremely loud noises within their own head. The noises are usually described as the sound of an explosion, roar, waves crashing against rocks, loud voices, or a ringing noise. There is no pain, but the noises are usually described as extremely loud. Attacks can change in frequency over time. The cause is a mystery, although some physicians think there is a correlation with stress or extreme fatigue.

It’s hard avoid contracting any of these diseases since it’s not known how they are passed from host to host or developed. Your safest bet is probably remembering to get your flu shot… and staying inside forever.

Read more: http://viralnova.com/odd-diseases/


A recent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs found the VA beset by “significant and chronic system failures.” One of those failures apparently includes inattentiveness to which branch of service one Marine Corps veteran served in:

This new ID card says a lot about the VA. (I wasn’t in the Army) pic.twitter.com/wAv5iISOWl

— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) October 17, 2014


Bureaucratic runaround ensued in the attempt to correct the error:

ID replacement: “You need to bring in your current one.” “You sent me the new one in the mail.” “My hands are tied.” wtf @DeptVetAffairs

— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) October 17, 2014

The @DeptVetAffairs is driving me to drink. pic.twitter.com/aVFDZ6QZY8

— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) October 17, 2014

You stay competent, VA!

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2014/10/17/says-a-lot-about-the-va-marine-corps-veteran-gets-runaround-after-spotting-id-card-mistake/

Charles Dharapak / AP

WASHINGTON — One of President Obama’s two nominees Thursday for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Todd M. Hughes, would become the first out gay appeals court judge in the country, if confirmed by Congress.

Hughes currently is the deputy director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the United States Department of Justice. The White House states the Hughes also has served as an adjunct lecturer in law with the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and as an instructor for Duke University’s writing program.

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is a specialty court. Unlike other federal appeals courts, the federal circuit only considers a limited docket of cases: appeals of patent cases, appeals from the Court of Claims and other specifically delineated areas of appeal. Other appeals court, in contrast, have the cases they hear determined by geography.

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, which runs the Presidential Appointments Project to support out LGBT candidates for appointments, praised the nomination.

“If confirmed, Todd Hughes would become the first openly gay federal appeals court judge in U.S. history. His nomination is a testament to the expanding opportunities for openly LGBT Americans who want to serve their country, and to the president’s respect for the depth of talent and experience within the LGBT community. We look forward to his confirmation by the U.S. Senate,” Victory Fund president Chuck Wolfe said in a statement.

In announcing the nomination, the White House released the following biographical information about Hughes:

Hughes received his A.B. from Harvard College in 1989 and completed a joint degree program with Duke University, earning both his J.D. with honors and his M.A. in English in 1992. After graduating from law school, Hughes clerked for the Honorable Robert B. Krupansky of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1994, he joined the Commercial Litigation Branch as a trial attorney. Five years later, he was appointed to be Assistant Director for Commercial Litigation, a role he held until assuming the title of Deputy Director in 2007. Throughout his career with the Department of Justice, Hughes’s practice has been devoted to matters of federal personnel law, veterans’ benefits, international trade, government contracts, and jurisdictional issues regarding the United States Court of Federal Claims. He has extensive experience before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Federal Claims, and he has garnered a number of special commendations from the Department of Justice and a special contribution award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Obama also nominated Raymond T. Chen, who is currently the deputy general counsel for intellectual property law and solicitor for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, to the Federal Circuit on Thursday.

Hughes is the second out gay attorney Obama has nominated for the Federal Circuit. The first, Edward DuMont, was nominated in the 111th Congress and renominated in the 112th Congress, but DuMont withdrew his name when it became clear that his nomination was not going to proceed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Although Democratic aides on the committee pointed to Republican unwillingness to proceed, Republican aides countered that Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy could have brought the nomination forward if he had wanted to do so.

There are a handful of out LGBT federal trial court judges — one who was nominated by President Clinton and the others by Obama — but there has never been an out LGBT appeals court judge in the federal courts.

Currently serving out LGBT federal lifetime-tenured judges include Judges Deborah Batts, who is on senior status in the Southern District of New York; Judges Paul Oetken and Alison Nathan, both also of the Southern District of New York; and Judge Michael Fitzgerald of the Central District of California.

Out judicial nominees renominated at the start of this Congress include Pamela Ki Mai Chen, nominated for the Eastern District of New York; Michael McShane, District of Oregon; William Thomas, Southern District of Florida; and Nitza Quiñones Alejandro, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/obama-nominee-would-be-first-out-gay-federal-appeals-court-j

Armistice Day (11 November – dedicated by King George V) is the day in which the nations of the World War I allies remember the brave who died. It is known as Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in some countries. It seems fitting that we should have a list on the topic as our own way to say thank you to the many men and women who gave their lives for the protection of our way of life.








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In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sources: Google Images, Heritage of the Great War, and World War I Color Photos

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/11/10/20-amazing-color-images-of-the-first-world-war/


It’s the thought that counts, right?


But the misidentification wasn’t only confined to Twitter:


We’ll give everybody a break — the pressure is mounting because Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and they haven’t bought the turkey yet.


The initial version of this post included only a dozen Veterans Day celebrators, but we have expanded our list.

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2013/05/26/a-dozen-people-who-are-celebrating-veterans-day-this-weekend/


As we enter that wonderful time of year when atheists and city councils clash over manger scenes and “holiday trees” in the public square, a smaller-scale clash over God and government from November is beginning to make waves, and it involves a first-grader and a poem she wrote to honor her grandfathers.

6-year-old child forced to remove "God" from poem about her grandfather http://t.co/SWfeBLBA #Christ-haters

— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) November 30, 2012

Todd Starnes has brought attention to the story, which was reported by the Hickory Record in North Carolina last week. A six-year-old girl at West Marion Elementary School was asked at the request of a parent to remove the mention of God from a poem she was set to read at the school’s Veterans Day program. Her poem, written for her grandfathers, both Vietnam veterans, included the line, “He prayed to God for peace, he prayed to God for strength.” The girl did as she was told, but parents raised their concerns over the incident at a school board meeting.

“After consulting with the superintendent … we jointly decided that we must err on the side of caution to prevent from crossing the line on the Establishment Clause of the Constitution,” school principal Desarae Kirkpatrick explained.

Quite a few agree that the school did indeed cross the line, but in the opposite direction.

It's OK to put #Christmas commercials on TV to entice shoppers. But a child can't use #God in a poem at school? #HolyHolyHoly

— Joe Phillips (@MoJoe_46) November 30, 2012

SC school forces 6 yr. old to take God out of Veteran's Day poem.' No latte lapping liberal school teacher can disrespect God &our military

— Cynthia Westland (@westcyn) November 29, 2012

I think the world has gone MAD! North Carolina School Orders 6-Year-Old Girl To Remove Word “God” From Poem She Wrote For Veteran’s Day…

— kathie #ORPUW (@railgirl1952) November 29, 2012

School Removes God From First-Grader's Poem http://t.co/tjLEPqXv ☄Extreme PC strikes again. This is no longer America…

— I give a hoot! (@PapaElia) November 29, 2012

North Carolina School Orders 6-Year-Old Girl To Remove Word “God” From Poem She Wrote For Veteran’s Day…STOP THE INSANITY

— Kathleen O'Brien (@KathleenOBrien8) November 29, 2012

@PAC43 Makes me sick. The poem was written about reality. "He prayed to God for peace." So … take that out?! Because.. it isn't true? wha?

— AndLibertyForAll (@ImaConservativ1) November 29, 2012

School orders 6yr old girl to remove "God" from a poem she wrote about Veterans day. What happened to freedom of speech and religion? WTF

— Dave (@RainManDave) November 29, 2012


@HeyTammyBruce To recap: Crucifix in urine = art. Word "God" in poem = unconscionable politically incorrect ungoodthink.

— Amy (@moderncomments) November 29, 2012

Get your kids out of public schools NOW! —->@foxnation School orders 6yr old to remove "God" from poem?

— sandy grits (@sandygrn) November 29, 2012

Good Grief… a six year old can't express herself in a poem and mention GOD.. We are completely lost. God Help Us. http://t.co/pHGwfwHr

— Joyce Krawiec (@joycekrawiec) November 30, 2012

Read more: http://twitchy.com/2012/11/29/school-district-strips-god-from-first-graders-veterans-day-poem/



Justus “Jay” Belfield donned his Army uniform every Veterans Day without hesitation. But, for the 98-year-old WWII and Korean War veteran, last Tuesday would be his final chance to celebrate the country he served for 16 years.

Belfield passed away Wednesday morning, alongside his wife and family members at Baptist Health Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scotia, New York.

Although he’d been too sick to enjoy the Veterans Day activities, Belfield wore his uniform in bed.

The veteran, who served at WWII’s Battle of the Bulge and the Cold War’s Berlin Airlift, was fiercely patriotic until the end.

On September 11 of this year, he stood through the entirety of “God Bless America” while in uniform.

Due to ailing health this past October, Belfield was forced to turn down an invitation to view Washington, DC’s WWII memorial alongside fellow veterans of the war.

Belfield moved into Baptist in April of 2013 to be closer to wife, Lillian, who was already a resident.

He reportedly never let his good cheer falter, greeting fellow nursing home tenants with the honk of a horn attached to his walker.

Barbara Bradt, activities director at Baptist, told the Daily Gazette,

He just had such a spark for life. He taught me no matter how old you are, you keep going, you put a smile on your face and you just appreciate every day, because that’s what he did.

Julie Stubbs Tutunjian, Belfield’s granddaughter, posted a statement to Facebook, saying,

Thank you everyone for your kind words. My grandfather was very proud to have served his country. Our family is sad of his passing, but we know he is with the Lord now.

To date, an image of a uniformed Belfield saluting from his nursing home bed has been shared over 100,000 times from local news network WTEN’s Facebook page.

Dozens of veterans, young and old, have posted images of themselves saluting Belfield in return.

Justus BelfieldJustus Belfield

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/98-year-old-veteran-salutes-in-uniform-photo/851227/

Duckworth is running for a seat in the House from Illinois’s 8th District for the second time (she ran unsuccessfully in 2006). She’s also a former helicopter pilot who lost her lower legs in Iraq — she was America’s first female double amputee in that war. She served as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and still serves in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Leigh Vogel / Getty Images

Duckworth in 2010.

Your opponent, Joe Walsh, has been saying you talk about your military service too much. What’s your response to that?

I think that Mr. Walsh has been incredibly irresponsible in his words. When he says veterans shouldn’t talk about their military service, he encourages more veterans not to. But there are a lot of veterans coming home who need to talk — in order to get a job, they need to say, I was a leader in the military, and I can lead a shift in your factory. Or, I’ve proven that I can show up every day for work. These are all good things. People should talk about their service. People are already reluctant to talk about it because that’s the military culture, and this will make them clam up even more. Especially people with mental health issues who need to ask for help.

I’m proud of my service. I spent twenty years in the army, of course it’s going to color the things I talk about. If anyone spends twenty years doing anything, that’s going to play a part in who you are as a human being. We were asked in our debate about gay marriage, and I brought up my time at Walter Reed Medical Center [where I ended up after being wounded in Iraq]. That was his example of how I always talk about my service, but I was saying I was grateful to have my husband there to make decisions for me when I was unconscious for eleven days. I would want anyone to have their soul-mate there to make those decisions. I’ve never been hospitalized other than at Walter Reed, so that’s what I talked about.

The documentary The Invisible War has a lot of people talking about sexual assault in the military. What’s your take on this issue?

It is absolutely unacceptable that there is sexual assault in the military. We should remember it occurs not just with female service members but with males as well. It’s unacceptable and we need more oversight. I think the military is trying hard, but until you have more female high-ranking officers, you’re going to have some issues. I never experienced sexual assault, but I was a pretty tough chick officer, and if anything I was there for lower enlisted females to come to. I wasn’t a scared 18 year old who couldn’t push back. A lot of this stuff is about power. It’s power relationships. The military needs to redouble its efforts, and there should be congressional oversight. And women need to become a bigger percentage of the military — I think as we do, things will get better.

Did other women ever come to you to report assault?

I was usually the only woman in an all-male unit, but sometimes we would get women reporting issues of discrimination. But usually I was the only woman so it didn’t happen that much.

How did you decide to run for Congress this time around?

After I lost in 2006, I never really thought I would run again. But last year I was working at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, and I was sitting in my office at midnight getting ready to shut down the government because Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on resolution for budget. It was my job to tell thousands of employees that they weren’t going to get paid. And I had to tell veterans it was unlikely they’d get their benefits and services in a timely manner because of a manufactured political crisis. I got really frustrated. I thought, we’ve got to do something different. And that’s when I decided to run again.

There’s been a lot of talk about the lives of women in government recently — what do you think about government as a workplace for women?

I think that women actually have greater success working in government than in the private sector. There are more women in government than in corporations, and I think that government service is a way that women can achieve high rank. The military is the one place where women make equal pay for equal work.

So how can we make the private sector better for women?

We need to get more women elected into office on both sides of the aisle. Women only make up 18 percent of Congress. And yet when we helped Afghanistan write their new constitution we urged them to have a provision that 25 percent of legislators must be female. If we can get more women in office so it actually reflects the population of women, then issues affecting women will come more to the fore.

You’ve been an advocate for disability rights — what are the next steps the country needs to take in this area?

A big first step was the Americans With Disabilities Act, and thanks to the first President Bush for signing that into law. It’s interesting that that bill had support from both sides of the aisle. But it’s really eroded. Until I was wounded I never thought about this and I think most of us don’t, but we’re all one bad car accident away from needing curb cuts [ramps that help people with wheelchairs navigate sidewalks] and other accommodations to help us lead productive lives. We need to strengthen the ADA. There are many things we can do with persons with disabilities that would gain bipartisan support. I would love a program where parents could put money away with a tax cut for the future of children with disabilities. Parents worry about kids with severe disabilities and what will happen after they’re gone, and this would be a way we could help them with tax savings. It’s about self-sufficiency, but it’s also about making sure we have programs there.

How do you feel about the Affordable Care Act, both for people with disabilities and in general?

I definitely am happy that it passed, and I was very pleased with the Supreme Court decision. We all know what the good parts are: the protection for children with preexisting conditions, which falls right in line with rights for persons with disabilities, raising the lifetime cap on insurance coverage, and protection for adults with preexisting conditions as well. But I worry about components of the plan that may not be helpful. Businesses with a high number of employees and low profit margin are really going to be challenged by the ACA. Restaurants, retail, lawn care, any type of business with a lot of shift workers, or where you have to have a lot of employees, they will be challenged, and we need to do something. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get to work to fix it.

What would a solution look like?

We need to take a look at a tax credit for those businesses. I’m starting some business roundtables, where I’ll ask them to frankly tell me what they need.

What advice do you have for young women and girls who want to get into government?

Volunteer early, get on a campaign, and work your butt off. Don’t take no for an answer. Be aggressive. My campaign manager right now walked into my offices in 2006 and showed herself to be incredibly capable, and within three weeks we gave her a job. She’s parlayed that into ever-increasing positions, and she’s not even 30 years old yet. Put aside your discomfort, show up, volunteer, and get to work.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/annanorth/congressional-candidate-tammy-duckworth-military