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Kirk Climbs 237 Steps Returning to Senate

Highland Park senator comes back to work just under a year after suffering a stroke.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) returned to work today as he climbed 237 steps to the entrance of the Senate side of the United States Capitol just under a year after suffering a major stroke.

Assisted by Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kirk walked slowly using a cane completing the ascent 10 minutes before the Vice President was scheduled to gavel the Senate into session for the 113th Congress.

Biden was not worried about the timing. “You’ve got all day, pal,” the vice president said to Kirk at the bottom of the stairs. Biden was the first person to greet Kirk when he appeared at the bottom of the steps, giving him a hug.

Next to hug his returning colleague at the bottom of the stairs was Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Springfield). Shortly after that, Kirk received a handshake from outgoing Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) before climbing the steps. Dold’s term was set to expire in a few minutes.

As Kirk started his walk, he was greeted with cheers and applause from lawmakers lining the steps including the Illinois Congressional delegation. Prominent in front of the line were Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) and Rep. elect Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield).

, will be sworn in later today.

jkerr January 03, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I think its great that he's back and recovering, but he's clearly unable to perform the high-pressure, demanding job of US Senator due to his unfortunate physcial problems. If he truly cared about the people of Illinois he would resign his office to make way for a new leader who could provide strong representation and get things done for this state.
McCloud January 03, 2013 at 06:43 PM
Get things done? Like more taxes, more regulations, more debt? Yeah I'll take a double dose, oh I guess with Durbin we already get have double dorks.
V.S. January 03, 2013 at 07:15 PM
Sorry, John, but I do not agree with you. If you have heard him speak, you know that his mind and will to serve the people of Illinois was not affected by the stroke. He worked hard to get back to the Senate. Anyone who works that hard has my support all the way.
jkerr January 03, 2013 at 09:21 PM
Illinois has had only one U.S. Senator for the last year while Sen. Kirk was working hard on his rehabilitation. That's one year gone for us. I'm sure he has the desire, but as a victim of a major stroke he does not have the stamina or energy to do the job. He clearly needs to continue to devote much of his time and effort to getting better. If he truly cares about the people of Illinois he would step down. Instead, his priority seems to be maintaining political power. He is a public servant, not a Republican party servant.
Jeff Wheeler January 03, 2013 at 09:23 PM
All we need Kirk to do is vote more Democrat than Republican and who cares? :) Strategically, we all know that Quinn will appoint a Democrat to fill his place if he resigns. So there is a good reason why he has not resigned. Reelection? Illinois will vote another Democrat if Kirk is not on the ticket, and if he runs again many of the voters will feel sorry for Kirk and applaud his strength in getting back on his feet and vote for him anyway.... so it's like a win-win-win for Republicans if he stays put.
Reg January 03, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Kirk is a shining example of how excellent government-run healthcare can be... His speedy recovery is a testament to the benefits of the government overseeing his healthcare. Many stroke sufferers with what passes for "excellent" private insurance still get kicked out of the hospital way too soon and are barely able to walk let alone climb even a few stairs to get to a bedroom. Heaven help them if they have bad or no insurance.
Marleen Lipsch;ultz January 04, 2013 at 03:26 PM
Any person who worked as hard as Kirk to rehabilitate and get back to work within a year shows us that he has the perseverance, passion and ability to perform on all fronts. While other Senators have personal trainers and a busy social life, Kirk will also find the time to do his work for the people of Illinois and for himself. Try not to be so bitter because your rehabilitation has not gone as well. We are rooting for you as well!!
Nancy Parient January 04, 2013 at 03:35 PM
Amazing!
Edward Cheng January 04, 2013 at 04:26 PM
First of all, the expenses of health insurance should be much lower, in order for ordinary person to be affordable. Ten years ago, my 80 years old mom has a stroke, for one month the sense of recognition and mobility to walk and feed herself are rapidly failed, even through numerous hospital visits. After invalid treatment and medicine for elder stroke patient, we decide to try alternative medicine- Chinese Acupuncture and medicinal massage for mom. After four treatments and one month later, miraculously and somehow expected, she started talking and walking miles and gradually recover until now. mom is 94 years and still smart talking with excellent memory like before. And her medicine treatment through alternative care is not cover by insurance, therefore, are completely out of pocket . Our government and healthcare should consider to cover licensed alternative medicine such as Chinese acupuncture and medicinal massage in order to bring a good health care to needed patients.
RB January 05, 2013 at 01:39 AM
One day, the first day, of each Congress everyone seems to get along. It was great to see Democrats and Republicans cheering his entry. Every other day it's like Divorce Court. That's too bad.
CK January 06, 2013 at 11:32 PM
To IMHO...would you have pushed for Franklin Roosevelt to resign? He smoked, drank martinis (sometimes it is said with his misstresses) and had servants spend hours dressing him everyday. His "service" to America included running for president even when he knewhe was deathly ill. Did IMHO carry on about why STroger didn't resign until the politics was arranged to protect his kid?

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