Rep. Tammy Duckworth Announces Run For GOP-Held Senate Seat: 'I Will Fight My Heart Out'

03/30/2015 12:49 pm ET

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is running for a 2016 Senate seat.

"I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity," the congresswoman says in a video announcement released Monday.

Duckworth is vying for the junior senatorial seat currently held by Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, whose seat is considered among the GOP's most vulnerable heading into the 2016 races.

In the roughly 2-minute announcement -- which is part biography and part stump speech -- the congresswoman shares snippets from her life, such as growing up on food stamps and working as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in Iraq. She calls for Washington to create more affordable college loans and tax relief for the working and middle class.

Duckworth also touts her accomplishments in Congress, including her support of the 2013 No Budget, No Pay Act, which stipulated Congress would not be paid unless they passed a timely budget.

"I view my time now as a bonus, and that has allowed me to speak up without fear," Duckworth says.

In response to Duckworth's announcement, The National Republican Senatorial Committee blasted the Congresswoman as "partisan" in a statement Monday.

“Congresswoman Duckworth is a partisan politician who got her start in politics as a result of [former Illinois Gov.] Rod Blagojevich’s political maneuvers,” NRSC spokeswoman Andrea Bozek said, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.

“Unlike Congresswoman Duckworth, who has put her extreme policies in Washington before Illinois families by voting with Nancy Pelosi 92% of the time, Mark Kirk has been an independent voice. Senator Kirk’s record of accomplishment and thoughtful independence will outshine any candidate that emerges from the Democrat primary in Illinois," she continued.

Duckworth is reportedly meeting with supporters and donors Monday night in Chicago's Hancock Center, according to the Sun-Times.

A former helicopter pilot, Duckworth became the first female Iraq combat veteran in Congress when she joined the House in 2013. She is also the first member of Congress born in Thailand.

Also on HuffPost:

New Congress Members
Suggest a correction