Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) announced on Tuesday that she has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
“If there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that Parkinson’s Disease sucks,” Wexton, 54, said in a video posted on Twitter.
In the past few months, the disease has primarily affected her speech and how her mouth moves, causing her to speak more quickly, she said. It has also impacted her balance and the way she walks.
While the disease has caused impairments, the Virginia Democrat emphasized that Parkinson’s isn’t a “death sentence” and that she’s working with a doctor to address the symptoms.
“I want to use that platform to be a voice for those struggling with Parkinson’s to help bring better resources to the search for a cure,” she said Tuesday, announcing the diagnosis on National Parkinson’s Day. Some 500,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, but the actual number is expected to be much higher.
In recent weeks, Wexton has focused on her duties in Congress while also traveling around her district, hosting events with constituents and visiting local businesses and schools. She plans to continue such outings as she works with the doctor on a suitable treatment plan.
“I hope to keep serving you for many years to come,” she said.
Wexton previously worked as a domestic violence prosecutor and substitute judge before becoming a state senator, a position she held for five years. She won the post in Virginia’s 10th congressional district in 2018, flipping her district blue.
That year, she gained national attention for leading a symbolic vote on a resolution that condemned future government shutdowns, targeting Republicans ahead of another shutdown battle. She also applauded the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee inside the U.S. Capitol in 2020, calling it a “historic and long-overdue moment.”
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Author: By Matt Berg