Illinois’ congressional delegation is preparing for a big welcome-back party for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill., pictured), who has missed most of the last year in Washington because of a stroke. Kirk’s staff confined its remarks to a two-sentence e-mail from a spokesman: “Senator Kirk said publicly he intends to return in January. He remains on track to be back when the Senate convenes on Jan. 3 for the 113th Congress.”
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Another top Republican in the state is thrilled: “I’m very delighted that Mark is coming back to be with us … in a more visible role for the public of Illinois,” said state Treasurer Dan Rutherford. He says the two campaigned together while he was a state lawmaker and Kirk was in the U.S. House.
Rutherford says Kirk’s youth and seeming prior good health show that these things happen to people regardless, but “candidly, and ultimately, the Lord’s going to have the final decision on what happens.”