Rep. Jennifer Wexton won’t run for reelection amid health challenges
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) announced Monday that she will not be seeking reelection, citing her worsening health challenges.
“I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community,” Wexton said in a statement. “But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones.”
Wexton, 55, revealed in April that she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, saying at the time that the disease had “primarily affected” her speech but that she hoped to keep serving for “many years to come.”
But in the lengthy statement issued Monday, the Virginia Democrat said her diagnosis changed to progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), which she described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” She said she sought out additional testing after she was not making progress in managing her symptoms on her previous treatment plan.
“I’ve 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 tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP. I’ll continue treatment options to manage my symptoms, but they don’t work as well with my condition as they do for Parkinson’s,” she said.
Wexton flipped a Republican-held seat during the 2018 midterms to win election to her first term in Congress. Since then, she has been reelected twice to represent Virginia’s 10th district, representing suburbs outside Washington.
“When I made the decision to run for Congress, this was clearly not the way I anticipated it coming to a close — but then again, pretty much nothing about my time serving here has quite been typical or as expected,” she said.
“While my time in Congress will soon come to a close, I’m just as confident and committed as ever to keep up the work that got me into this fight in the first place for my remaining time in office — to help build the future we want for our children,” she added. “I am truly humbled by the trust Virginians have placed in me, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district.”
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, PSP is “a rare neurological disorder that affects body movements, walking and balance, and eye movements.” The disease can lead to severe disability and serious complications within three to five years, according to the institute.