The Paul Simon Institute for Public Policy and Senator Tammy Duckworth held a town hall event at SIU on Friday evening.
The Senator took questions from constituents on a large variety of issues. She repeatedly stressed the importance of bipartisanship when the country is so divided.
"I have made it my personal guiding principle to be as bipartisan as possible," she said.
Duckworth cited her record of working with Republicans, while noting that a number of bipartisan bills that have been passed in the House of Representatives have not made it past Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a vote.
The Senator also spoke about her commitment to veterans and the work she hopes to do in improving the VA and access to health care, as well as speaking out against the deportation of veterans and non-citizen family members of active duty military.
On the issue of immigration reform, Duckworth said that any comprehensive immigration reform needs to be achievable, fair and humane. She said the current policy is the opposite.
Ultimately what's happening in this country under President Trump's zero-tolerance policy is inhumane. It is un-American and it is inhumane," she said.
When asked what people can do to oppose policies under the current administration, Duckworth said voters need to keep reaching out to their elected officials. She credited the survival of the Affordable Care Act to voters who spent months lobbying their Senators.
"The American public spoke up once before and made it happen," she said.
Duckworth also sees the Midwest playing a critical role in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
"I don't think Democrats take over the Senate and I don't think Democrats take over the White House," she said. "With a ticket that has an East Coaster and a West Coaster on it and nobody to talk to the industrial Midwest."