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Virginia Rep. Wexton will not stand for re-election after a ‘hard’ diagnosis

Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., will not seek re-election next year after receiving a new and worse diagnosis of “Parkinson’s on steroids” from her doctors, she said in a statement Monday.

“I have always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a difficult one. There is no ‘get better,’” Wexton said in her announcement, posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

The third-term congresswoman shared her original Parkinson’s diagnosis in April, a nervous system disorder that can affect movement and cause tremors. But after noticing that she was not making progress with treatment and that her symptoms differed from those in her Parkinson’s support group, Wexton said she sought further medical testing and opinions.

Wexton’s diagnosis was changed to progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare brain disorder for which there is no cure.

After asking her doctor if she could run for re-election next fall, her doctor responded, “Why would you want to?” according to The Washington Post.

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Wexton said in her statement Monday that she plans to complete her current term and then spend the remaining years with her husband, two sons and other loved ones.

“I am heartbroken to have to give up something I loved after so many years of serving my community,” Wexton said in her statement.

Her northern Virginia district was a Republican stronghold for decades before Wexton defeated Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock in 2018.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., posted a photo of Wexton on X Monday morning of her in a Wonder Woman costume on Halloween 2018, saying, “When I think of Jennifer Wexton, I think of this photo.”

“She is a great public servant, listener and fighter for her constituents,” Kaine wrote. “I will miss her terribly in Congress and will keep her in my prayers.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jennifer Wexton will not compete again after being diagnosed with supranuclear palsy

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