Sen. Kirk makes first official public appearance since stroke

May 3, 2013 at 8:15 PM

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., May 3 (UPI) -- U.S. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., waylaid by a serious stroke, Friday made his first official public appearance, taking reporters' queries at an Illinois charter school.

Kirk, 53, who returned to work in the Senate in January, a year after suffering a stroke, spoke with clarity and quickly at times at the LEARN Public Charter School outside North Chicago. He discussed a range of subjects, including budget issues and the nomination of Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary, the Chicago Tribune said.

While he did bring up his health situation, he later responded to a reporter's inquiry.

"I will say that rehab works. Part of my mission is to tell everyone in Illinois who has [a parent with a medical issue who is depressed], call me and I'll get them up," said Kirk, who used both a wheelchair and a four-pronged cane in getting around at the school after arriving in a sport utility vehicle.

He explained his limp and restricted movements to students at the school, the newspaper said.

"I am not as quick as I used to be," he said. "I have a mission ... to show and be an example to your older parents who go through something like that that ... you can come back."

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