Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., held his first public appearance in Illinois since suffering a stroke in January 2012.
Appearing with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., he met the press at Great Lakes Naval Academy and took all questions on a variety of subjects including sequestration and President Obama’s latest cabinet nomination, Penny Pritzker.
Durbin and Kirk’s intention was to demonstrate bipartisan support for the Naval Base and a charter school, but with a prominent limp and slow gait, Kirk was never far from the stroke that sidelined him from the Senate for a year.
“Rehab works,” the Republican senator said Friday as he toured LEARN Public Charter School and advocated for more charters to open in the suburbs.
Kirk told reporters that part of his new mission now is to tell everyone in Illinois who has a medical issue or has a parent with a medical issue, that they should call him and he would cheer them up.
Kirk entered the school with the help of a wheel chair. Inside the school, he walked a bit with a four-pronged cane.
He switched back to the wheelchair but got out of it while he visited students.
Kirk suffered the stroke in early 2012, and after a year in rehabilitation, learning to walk and talk once again, he returned to the Senate January 3, 2013.