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.