Mark Kirk Returns To The Senate
It was just under a year ago that Illinois Senator Mark Kirk suffered a stroke that kept him out of the Senate and recovering for the better part of 2012. Today, on the first day of the 113th Congress, he returned to the Senate and fulfilled a promise that he’d walk up the steps of the Senate:
Keeping a pledge he made last spring, Sen. Mark Kirk climbed the Capitol steps on Thursday to mark his return almost a year after suffering a major stroke.
The 53-year-old Republican from Illinois was greeted by two top Democrats: Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Dick Durbin, the senior senator from Illinois.
Using a four-pronged cane, Kirk made the climb assisted by Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat who is Kirk’s best friend in the Senate. Hundreds of well-wishers stood and applauded, including more than 60 members of Congress.
Biden, addressing Kirk as he began his climb, remarked: “You got all day, pal. It took me seven months to make these steps.” The vice president in 1988 was absent from the Senate for months because ofo surgeries for brain aneurysms.
The vice president grasped Kirk’s right upper arm, and Manchin, on the left, kept his hand around Kirk’s waist, to assist and guide him on the way up.
“Hi, guys,” Kirk told reporters and photographers.Kirk’s climb took about 20 minutes, since he paused at times, giving a hearty wave or a thumbs-up to cheering lawmakers. He got a hug and kiss from one lawmaker, Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.
Kirk, wearing eyeglasses, a light blue tie and a dark suit and overcoat, conquered each step chiefly using his right leg and foot, as his left leg remains impaired. His left arm appeared largely immobilized.
Several House and Senate members from Illinois were among those who turned out, cheering “Bravo” when Kirk reached the top of the steps at the Senate’s exterior door, located on the second floor of the Capitol. One of them was Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., a double amputee from the Iraq war, who called it a “fantastic day” for people with disabilities and for the nation.
Great for you, Senator.