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Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson says that he has Parkinson’s disease but that the diagnosis won’t stop him from seeking re-election in 2016.
In a statement Wednesday, Isakson said he was first diagnosed with the disease in 2013, when he suffered from stiffness in his left arm.
“I am in the early stages of the disease, and my main symptoms are the stiffness in my left arm and a slowed, shuffling gait,” he said. His office also released a statement on Wednesday from his treating neurologist, who said the senator remains “fully capable” of doing his day job and running for re-election.
The Georgia senator, who is 70, says that he’s pushing forward with his re-election bid.
“I am busier and have more responsibility today than ever before in my political career, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I remain devoted to public service, to my state and to my constituents. I am eager to take my record of results to the voters of Georgia as I run for re-election in 2016,” he said.
Isakson added that he struggled with the question of whether to disclose the diagnosis but ultimately decided that “I should handle my personal health challenge with the same transparency that I have championed throughout my career.”
Isakson was first elected to the Senate in 2004.
Sen. Roger Wicker, the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a statement that Isakson has "been working incredibly hard on his reelection."
"Johnny is a tireless advocate for his state. Today’s news does not change that," Wicker said. "If anything, it will embolden him.”