Entries in Mark Kirk (7)


Sen. Kirk Completes Stair Climb to Capitol on First Day Back in Senate

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- For Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., 45 steps awaited him upon his return to the Senate for the first time since his stroke last January.

Kirk slowly climbed the steps to the Capitol, a trip that took about 10 minutes total including three stops – the first to greet Vice President Joe Biden, and then Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Joe Manchin, D-W.V.

“Welcome back, man,” Biden exclaimed as Kirk ambled up the first few steps.

With Manchin and Biden bracing him, Kirk continued his walk up the Capitol steps, stopping halfway to wave to colleagues from the House and Senate who had lined up along the steps for the monumental walk and more than a hundred people gathered on the plaza.

When Kirk reached the top, the crowd burst into applause and cheers for a man who has spent the past year learning how to walk again.

Kirk took to Twitter shortly after his stair climb to thank those who have supported him.

Last January doctors determined Kirk had suffered an ischemic stroke after finding a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck. Kirk underwent surgery to reduce swelling around his brain and has gone through rehabilitation over the past year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sen. Mark Kirk to Climb Capitol Steps as He Returns from Stroke

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., will walk up the steps of the Capitol Thursday morning as he returns to the Senate for the first time since he suffered a stroke early last year.

Nearly one year ago, doctors determined Kirk suffered an ischemic stroke after finding a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck.  Kirk underwent surgery to reduce swelling around his brain and has gone through rehabilitation over the past year.

In an interview with the Daily Herald of suburban Chicago, Kirk said the idea of climbing those Capitol steps served as an inspiration for him during his recovery.

“I kept imagining going back to work,” Kirk told the Herald, “and the irreducible physical amount of effort I had to put in.”

Kirk’s return to the Senate comes on the first day of the 113th Congress, but it will not be his first trip to Capitol Hill since his stroke.  He returned to Capitol Hill in mid-December to hold meetings with his staff.

Kirk’s staff has chronicled the Illinois senator’s recovery efforts over the past year by sending updates, photos and videos.  Kirk recorded a video last May showing progress he had made during his time at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

“I’m walking again,” Kirk said in the video, “leading to my hope to climb the 45 steps that my staff counted from the parking lot to the Senate front door to fight for the people of Illinois.”

In November, Kirk climbed steps at Chicago’s Willis Tower during a fundraiser.

Kirk has served in the Senate since 2010 when he won the seat formerly occupied by President Obama.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sen. Mark Kirk Has Surgery After Stroke

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk underwent “successful” surgery in Chicago on Monday for a stroke, his office confirms to ABC News.

"On Saturday, Senator Kirk checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital, where doctors discovered a carotid artery dissection in the right side of his neck,” Kirk’s Senate office said in a statement. “He was transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where further tests revealed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke.  Early this morning the Senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke. The surgery was successful. Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator's recovery over the weeks ahead."

Kirk is young by Senate standards -- just 52 years old, born in 1959. Kirk came into Congress when he won the seat formerly occupied by Sen. Barack Obama.

Monday is the Senate’s first day back after nearly a three-week recess.  Kirk will miss Monday’s first votes scheduled for late this afternoon.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kirk: 'Spend Less, Borrow Less, Tax Less to Put America Back to Work'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill., called out the current leaders of Congress in this week's GOP Address saying they "should not move forward on plans that were just rejected by the American people," claiming that leaders in Washington "want to continue the reckless tax and spend policies of the past" and "think a new, massive tax hike on the U.S. economy is exactly what the American people need."

Sen. Kirk noted that last month's election reflected the American people's desire for less federal spending, borrowing and tax increases.  Kirk added that Americans pay some of the highest taxes in the world, and raising taxes to fuel higher spending threatens to restart the recession and put Americans out of work. 

Instead, Kirk proposed that Congress reduce spending and prevent another tax hike on American taxpayers set to take place on Jan. 1.  The newly-elected Illinois senator said the uncertainty of American taxpayers is "unfair" and "hurts the economy."  Kirk further called for Congress to set its highest priority on preventing the impending tax hike and working across the aisle to solve the country's mounting debt problem, which Kirk said poses a "clear and present danger to our future."

The senator also chastised Senate Democrats for rejecting a proposal this week to end earmark spending, calling their decision both "disappointing" and "disconnected from the American people."  Kirk urged for Republicans and Democrats to "enact bipartisan solutions to cut federal spending like a presidential line-item veto, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and a new procedure to ensure spending reductions actually happen."

Kirk concluded the address optimistically saying that he believes "America's best days still lie ahead of us" on the condition that we "correct our economic policy by focusing on growth and spending discipline."

"Spend less, borrow less and tax less to put America back to work.  That's what we heard from the American people last month -- and that's what we should expect from our leaders today," he said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


ABC News: Obama's Former Senate Seat Goes Republican

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Republican Congressman Mark Kirk will defeat Democrat State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the bitterly-contested race for the Illinois senate seat that launched Barack Obama to the White House, ABC News is projecting.

For Republicans, a victory in the Land of Lincoln represents a symbolic trophy in their efforts to wrest control of Congress from Democrats. The race had been fraught with claims of dishonesty on both sides, leading to an exceptionally high level of distaste for both candidates, according to preliminary exit polls.

The outcome would have been inconceivable just two years ago as Democrats watched their favorite son carry the state by 25 points to win the presidency, and the party sweep Republicans from every statewide office.

Throughout the campaign, Giannoulias had to defend himself against attacks on his credibility, particularly because the bank his family owned collapsed and because of the bank's alleged ties to mobsters. For his part, Kirk confronted persistent questions about whether he exaggerated his military record in the Navy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Illinois Senate Candidates Come Out Swinging but Neither Gets TKO

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CHICAGO) -- Democrat Alexi Giannoulias and Republican Mark Kirk didn’t hold anything back in Tuesday night's Illinois Senate debate.

Giannoulias was more aggressive, but Kirk was able to counter-punch and get in a few dings of his own.  Both were also able to bob and weave their way out of answering some of the more pointed questions posed to them.  Neither, however, landed a knock-out punch.

The candidates spent the first 10 minutes of the debate defending their own personal shortcomings and the negative tone of the campaign.  Both admitted to past mistakes, but each was quick to try to turn the focus back onto his opponent’s flaws.

Giannoulias worked hard to make Kirk, a 10-year House incumbent, the establishment candidate.  “If you are thrilled with Washington, D.C.,” said the Illinois State Treasurer, then Kirk’s “your man.”

For his part, Kirk, who represents a swing suburban Chicago district, presented himself as a centrist and an independent voice.  “I am a fiscal conservative, a social moderate,” he said.  Kirk said he was against gay marriage but for civil unions.  He also said that all third-party groups, like those currently advertising in the state, should disclose their donors.

While Kirk stayed away from a full-throated embrace of the GOP agenda, Giannoulias was reading right from the Democratic playbook.  He invoked former George W. Bush advisor Karl Rove often, called Kirk “bought and paid for by Wall Street firms,” and declared that the Congressman represented “typical D.C. politics.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Surrogate-in-Chief Hits The Campaign Trail

Photo Courtesy - ABC News Radio(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama takes to the campaign trail once again Thursday, making stops in Maryland to campaign for Gov. Martin O’Malley, followed by a trip to Chicago to lend his support to Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias.

Why the Chicago trip? It’s Obama’s second in two months to campaign for Giannoulias, who is vying for Obama’s old Senate seat, and first lady Michelle Obama plans to give the Democrat a boost when she visits next week.

Months ago it looked like Republican Rep. Mark Kirk was in a comfortable spot, particularly after the bank Giannoulias’ family owned was shut down this spring. But Kirk had his own stumbles and failed to take full advantage of the summer months to campaign. Recent polls show the race to be a virtual dead heat. As Bloomberg’s John McCormick and Roger Runningen report: “The first family’s efforts illustrate the struggle polls show Democrats face in keeping control of all statewide offices in Illinois. Their visits could rekindle local interest in the Senate race that has faded amid an unexpected mayoral race that may feature Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.…Mark Kirk, the Republican nominee, and Giannoulias have spent much of their campaign debating who is the more scandalized.”

Why Maryland? To begin with, the state is still Obama territory, at least much more so than much of the rest of the country. "The president is going there because Maryland is one place where he should be able to fire up the base and get them engaged," said Jennifer Duffy, senior analyst with the Cook Political Report. Recent polls give O’Malley an edge over Ehrlich. Senator Barbara Mikulski, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Congressman Chris Van Hollen are also expected to attend the rally.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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