Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick announced Jan. 15 she was taking a leave of absence from the office to enter treatment for alcohol addiction.
“Beginning next week, I will receive treatment that I have struggled to ask for, to treat my alcohol dependence,” said Kirkpatrick in a prepared statement.
Kirkpatrick, 69, said the decision was precipitated by a serious fall that will require physical therapy.
Kirkpatrick is up for reelection following her first term representing Southern Arizona’s Congressional District 2, considered one of the most competitive in the country. She had previously represented Congressional District 1, which includes Oro Valley and Marana as well as Flagstaff and eastern Arizona.
“I am finally seeking this help after struggling to do so in the past, and I am ready to admit that I, like countless other Americans, suffer from this disease,” Kirkpatrick said in her statement. “Hard work and determination—which have brought me success in life—have not been enough to win this battle. Other than being a wife, mother, and grandmother, the most important job in the world to me is representing my fellow Arizonans. I know I must get better in order to do my best in each of these roles.”
Kirkpatrick said her offices would continue to run in her absence.
“During my absence, my congressional offices in Washington and Arizona will be fully operational, processing all constituent requests, meetings, activities and correspondence,” Kirkpatrick said. “My positions on all recorded votes will be submitted to the Congressional Record and made publicly available.”
Kirkpatrick’s 2020 campaign manager, Michael Sheridan, said Kirkpatrick remained committed to running for reelection this year.
“Congresswoman Kirkpatrick is very grateful for all the outreach and support she’s received,” Sheridan said. “Ann wants her constituents to know that she is standing by them 100 percent and fully intends to run for reelection this fall and hopes to earn the support of all voters across her district.”
Two of Kirkpatrick’s potential Republican opponents wished her well in her effort at recovery.
“Alcoholism is a serious disease many Americans and their families face daily in our nation,” said Republican Brandon Martin in a Facebook statement. “It’s a difficult decision for individuals to address and admit they need help. I’m happy to hear, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, is seeking professional help to combat her illness and is taking the steps necessary to recover. I wish her, and her family the best as she begins her journey to a full recovery.”
Joseph Morgan shared a similar sentiment.
“I hope she gets the help she needs,” Morgan said.
Pima County Democratic Party Chair Alison Jones said the party “wishes Ann Kirkpatrick a speedy recovery from her fall. Almost every family is affected by the disease of alcoholism. We are confident Rep. Kirkpatrick, with the support of her family and friends, will get the treatment she needs while continuing to execute the duties of her office.”