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Rep. Kirkpatrick of Arizona getting help for alcoholism after ‘serious’ fall

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PHOENIX — U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona says she’s taking time off from work to get help for alcohol dependence after she had a “serious” fall.

The 69-year-old Democrat released a statement Wednesday saying alcohol was the “underlying cause” of her fall, and she expects to fully recover with physical therapy.

“I am ready to admit that I, like countless other Americans, suffer from this disease,” Kirkpatrick said in the statement. “Hard work and determination — which have brought me success in life — have not been enough to win this battle.”

Kirkpatrick fell in Washington and went to a hospital with multiple cracked ribs and spinal fractures and required staples in her head, her spokeswoman, Abigail O’Brien, said.

O’Brien estimated the congresswoman would be out for three weeks, “possibly more.” Kirkpatrick indicated she had no plans to step aside.

She said in the statement her offices will be fully operational during her absence, and she will continue to submit her positions on recorded votes.

Kirkpatrick missed a vote last week on a resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran. She also missed Wednesday’s vote on sending articles of impeachment against Trump to the Senate.

“We greatly admire the congresswoman’s courage and her strength during this trying time,” Arizona Democratic Party Chairwoman Felecia Rotellini said in a statement.

“Congresswoman Kirkpatrick has never shied away from a challenge, and I know she will meet this one head-on.”

Democratic U.S. Ruben Gallego of Arizona also chimed in with support.

Republican U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said he was keeping Kirkpatrick in his thoughts.

Kirkpatrick has represented parts of Arizona in Congress for most of the past decade. She was most recently elected in 2018 to a swing district in Tucson and southeastern Arizona that Republicans are targeting in the 2020 election.

Seven Republicans have filed paperwork to challenge her in November.

She previously represented a different swing district in northern and eastern Arizona before running unsuccessfully for Senate against longtime incumbent Republican John McCain in 2016.

McCain’s widow Cindy said on Twitter she is “sending lots of support and friendship” to Kirkpatrick.

The McCains’ daughter Meghan also wished the congresswoman well.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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