Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois to run for US Senate

Updated

Rep. Tammy Duckworth will run for Senate, the Illinois Democrat announced on Monday.

“I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable and to put Illinois’ families and communities first,” Duckworth said in a video announcement. “I look forward to visiting your community soon, and if you elect me as Illinois’ Senator, I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity.”

Duckworth, a former Blackhawk pilot who lost her legs and part of an arm fighting for the U.S. in Iraq and worked for years  at the Department of Veterans Affairs, was elected to Congress in 2010. She’ll challenge GOP Sen. Mark Kirk in the 2016 election. Kirk is widely considered to be one of the more vulnerable senators up for reelection.

Still, Duckworth doesn’t have the Democratic nomination in the bag. Other Illinois Democrats – including Reps. Bill Foster and Robin Kelly – have said they’re considering running, too.

RELATED: Women stepping to the forefront of Senate races in 2016

In her video announcement, Duckworth paints herself as someone who will fight for the middle class. “When I was in high school, my dad lost his job at 55 and struggled with unemployment. The bottom fell out for us.  For a time, food stamps kept my brother and me from going hungry. Graduating from college was a challenge, but I made it with help of loans, Pell grants and lots of waitressing,” she recalls. “That’s why I’ve always believed that if you don’t give up on yourself — our nation should never give up on you either.”

Duckworth also hinted at a handful of issues of focus for her campain, including pre-K and college education access, helping small businesses, and cutting taxes. 

Andrea Mitchell Reports, 11/18/14, 12:43 PM ET

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Illinois and Mark Kirk

Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois to run for US Senate

Updated