Bradley democrats Zoom and chat with Tammy Duckworth

If you have resorted to sweats and some causal posture while on a laptop camera, then you may sit up a bit straighter and iron your outfit if you’re talking to a United States senator. This was the case for the Bradley University College Democrats on Aug. 24.

The members had a candid conversation with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth in a Zoom call touching upon her work in Washington D.C.

According to the senior president of the Bradley Democrats, Priscila Calderon, the Chair of the Peoria County Democrats had suggested that the senator meet with the group.

“The Peoria County Dems community is always looking to connect us (the next generation) with local and state leaders,” Calderon said in an email interview.

While there was no direct objective of the meeting, Calderon said students were hoping to hear about Duckworth’s recent endeavors.

The chat was kept to a 30-minute call and included topics ranging from the U.S. Postal Service, her talks with Joe Biden about being his running mate, healthcare and investment in infrastructure that could improve the environment.

For political science and organizational communication sophomore David Daye, he was interested in how the event was even possible.

“I was really excited, I’ve never met or spoken to Senator Duckworth. I’m glad she was able to take the time,” Daye said. “I think that’s one of the benefits of COVID. People have a little bit more time and flexibility than elsewise.”

Duckworth also discussed the current plans in the Senate, such as the next COVID-19 relief package. She said that the relief would help infrastructures stay open and keep families afloat, even in cities such as Peoria.

“The last package, the CARES Act, had a lot of money in it, went out across the country and really did a lot of good,” Duckworth said during the call. “Many think it actually kept the economy from completely tanking.”

She said that the next relief is in a gridlock and hasn’t made much progress since passing the house almost two months ago. Just yesterday, Senate Democrats blocked a GOP coronavirus rescue package in a 52-47 vote, according to Associated Press.

Calderon was interested in seeing the progress of the relief through the senator’s perspective.

“The update that she was able to give us is that certain people, like Mitch McConnell, don’t want this stimulus out,” Calderon said. “That’s something a lot of people are anticipating.”

Along with relief that keeps companies open, the USPS is going through changes. Duckworth sees that it’s critical to keep post offices open in the election year rather than shutting them down.

“Ballots will not get counted,” Duckworth said. “It’s literally election interference. They’ve now taken mailboxes off the streets and shut down mail sorting machines.”

According to Duckworth, the reaction from American voters stopped the process of shutting down machines, but they’re not being put back into operation. While she is still trying to stop the regression of the USPS, she suggests that voters request their ballot ahead of time to avoid complications.

She had also brought up ideas on how to bring in additional revenue to the USPS such as selling lobby space to companies such as Starbucks and to allow citizens to open checking accounts with USPS.

Calderon said that events like these can help students gain internships and helps them understand how national bills can affect those at the local level.

She also said that the senator was down to earth and relatable.

“Minority woman, military veteran, very well respected,” Calderon said. “I was in awe, being a minority woman interested in politics. What a role model.”

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