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Kirkpatrick resumes voting in Congress, to hold constituent meeting Saturday

'Congress On Your Corner' set for this weekend

Six weeks after publicly acknowledging her alcoholism and seeking treatment after a fall, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick was back on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, casting her first recorded votes since Jan. 8.

Kirkpatrick, who announced that she would be treated for alcohol dependence after being injured in a "serious" fall last month, took part in several votes in the House of Representatives, including an "aye" on a measure to declare lynching a federal hate crime.

The Southern Arizona Democrat will hold a "Congress On Your Corner" meeting with constituents on Saturday morning, according to a news release from her office.

"Being your 'representative' is more than a title, it's a job description," Kirkpatrick said in the emailed announcement. "When the voters of Arizona's 2nd Congressional District chose to send me to Washington, they sent me with clear expectations: be accessible and accountable to Southern Arizonans. I am following through on my commitment to hold at least one public event a month so that I can meet those expectations, accurately represent you, and take our Southern Arizona voices to Washington."

Kirkpatrick also attended a House Appropriations Committee hearing Wednesday.

The news release did not address Kirkpatrick's health, nor mention her return to voting in Congress.

In addition to rehab, she was receiving physical therapy for injuries that included spinal fractures and cracked ribs, sources said.

The congresswoman announced her health issues a week after an incident in which she was injured in a "serious" fall in the subway while on her way to the U.S. Capitol. She said then that she would require physical therapy, but would recover. She did not detail her injuries. Sources said that Kirkpatrick had to have a head injury stapled after being taken to a hospital after a fall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 9.

"I do, however, have another challenge I must face, which was the underlying cause of my fall. Beginning next week, I will receive treatment that I have struggled to ask for, to treat my alcohol dependence," she said last month.

Kirkpatrick, 69, did not disclose where she would be treated.

The Democrat, who previously represented CD 1 (which covers Oro Valley and parts of Marana, stretching up through Flagstaff and Northern Arizona), is up for re-election after her first term in CD 2, in what has been one of the most competitive congressional districts in the country. She bested Republican candidate Lea Marquez Peterson in 2018. The district was previously represented by Republican Martha McSally, and Democrats Ron Barber and Gabrielle Giffords.

GOP candidates vying to face off with her include Shay Stautz, Joseph Morgan, and Brandon Martin. Another Republican candidate, former county supervisor Mike Boyd, filed with the Federal Election Commission but then announced he was dropping out of the race for health reasons.

Arizona lawmakers Wednesday were quick to welcome her back.

“We need her here, Arizona needs her here,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, who had not had a chance to speak Kirkpatrick on Wednesday.

“I’m happy for her and her family and we’re all here to support her,” said Grijalva, adding that “at the end of the day she’ll be stronger.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, welcomed Kirkpatrick’s return and said he hopes “she is able to overcome her challenges that she had.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, tweeted that she was proud of Kirkpatrick and “happy she’s back at the Capitol on behalf of Southern Arizona today.”

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Sedona, said in a statement that he was “beyond pleased to have my friend back in Washington today.”

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“Ann is a fighter and I’m glad southern Arizona families have her fighting in their corner,” his statement said.

Cronkite News reporter McKenzie Sadeghi contributed to this report.


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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Kirkpatrick at a 2018 Democratic debate.

What, where & when

  • 'Congress On Your Corner' with U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick
  • Murphy-Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Rd.
  • Saturday, Feb. 29, 10-11 a.m.