U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is planning to return to work in time for the first day of the new Congress on Jan. 3, almost one year after he suffered a major stroke.
The Chicago Tribune reports that, according to U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, the fellow Illinois Republican's return will be marked by a "big party and celebration." Kirk's office had no immediate comment on the Tribune's scoop, but confirmed the news to the Associated Press later Thursday:
Kirk has indicated previously that he'd return to work next month but hadn't specified a date. The Republican's spokeswoman, Erin Athas, confirmed the date on Thursday. She had no further details.
Early last month, after he climbed 37 floors inside Chicago's Willis Tower as part of the "SkyRise Chicago" fundraiser, Kirk, 53, said he was aiming for a January return to Congress. Later in the month, Kirk remained on track for his planned early 2013 return.
His priority for Congress upon his return? A ban on dumping sewage into the Great Lakes, Kirk said last month during an appearance at a polling place in Highwood, Ill.
Kirk, elected to President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat in the fall of 2010, checked himself into Lake Forest Hospital on Jan. 21, 2012, after suffering dizziness and headaches. Doctors subsequently discovered a "carotid artery dissection" and he was transferred to Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital where tests revealed he had suffered an ischemic stroke.