Sad, sad news on the veterans advocacy front today. Crain's Chicago Business reports:
Citing worsening health woes, U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, a prominent advocate for veterans' welfare, Tuesday announced that he will not run for re-election and will retire at the end of his current term. "When I announced in 1998 that I had Parkinson's Disease, my doctor said that this condition would not interfere with my work and that I would be able to perform at a high level for a number of years," Mr. Evans said in a statement released by his off ice. "That window of opportunity is now closing."
Mr. Evans has been in and out of the hospital for several weeks. He cast his last House vote on Feb. 14.
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Continuing from Crain's Chicago Business:
Mr. Evans was the ranking Democrat on House Committee on Veterans Affairs. A former Marine and staunch friend of organized labor, Mr. Evans won passage of a law that gives health benefits to children of veterans exposed to Agent Orange, a poison used during the Vietnam war.
To see one example of his recent work for our veterans, one need only look at his introduction of the Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act of 2005. The legislation was crafted with the aim of improving the mental health benefits given our returning veterans. (Read more on this bill and Evans' work here.)
Rep. Evans statement on his retirement:
This is a tough day for me. I am announcing that I will not run for re-election and will retire at the end of my current term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
When I announced in 1998 that I had Parkinson's disease, my doctor said that this condition would not interfere with my work and that I would be able to perform at a high level for a number of years. That window of opportunity is now closing.
I fully expected that I would continue my work for the foreseeable future following this current break from the office. But I have come to recognize that the time needed to address my health makes it difficult to wage a campaign and carry out my work as representative. I will return soon and to the best of my ability complete the important work of this term in my roles as representative and ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
This decision is especially tough because this job means so much to me. I believe strongly in serving people and working to make a positive difference in their lives. Every day has been rewarding and I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish and the fights I've made.
I thank my family and everyone who has worked with me - great friends, terrific colleagues, a dedicated staff, fellow vets. And I appreciate the support of people I never met before who would ask how I was doing and tell me to keep up the good fight. I'll be doing that in the weeks and months ahead and look forward to thanking every one of you personally for all you have meant to me."
To my constituents and veterans across this country, it is an honor and privilege to represent you.
If you'd like to send your good wishes to Rep. Evans:
Contact information (no handy-dandy online contact form for us to use).
Phone: Washington, DC
Voice - (202) 225-5905
Fax - 202-225-5396
Mail: Congressman Lane Evans
2211 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Evans: I'm going to miss reporting on your many good works, miss hearing how hard you're fighting to set things right by our veterans and by your constituents. You've been a shining example of what a public servant should and could be. Thank you so very much for that. All of my best to you for comfort, happiness, and quality time spent with family and friends. Thank you for your service to our country -- in and out of uniform.