Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson to Resign amid Health Problems

Sen Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. gestures as he gives his victory speech Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
AP/John Bazemore

Georgia Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson, who also serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, announced Wednesday that he will resign at the end of the year due to “health challenges.”

“After much prayer and consultation with my family and my doctors, I have made the very tough decision to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of this year,” Isakson said in a statement. “I have informed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective December 31, 2019.”

Isakson went on to say that his Parkinson’s has “been progressing” and taking a toll on him and those around him.

“I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff,” Isakson continued. “My Parkinson’s has been progressing, and I am continuing physical therapy to recover from a fall in July. In addition, this week I had surgery to remove a growth on my kidney.”

Isakson also insisted that his resignation would be best for the citizens of Georgia.

“In my 40 years in elected office, I have always put my constituents and my state of Georgia first. With the mounting health challenges I am facing, I have concluded that I will not be able to do the job over the long term in the manner the citizens of Georgia deserve,” Isakson said. “It goes against every fiber of my being to leave in the middle of my Senate term, but I know it’s the right thing to do on behalf of my state.”

He added, “I look forward to returning to Washington on September 9 when the Senate goes back into session. And after December 31, I look forward to continuing to help the people of Georgia in any way I can and also helping those who are working toward a cure for Parkinson’s.”

Isakson, whose Senate term was originally set to conclude in 2022, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013. Last month, Isakson fell in his D.C. apartment and suffered four fractured ribs and a torn rotator cuff. This week, Isakson underwent surgery at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, where doctors removed a two-centimeter renal cell carcinoma from one of his kidneys.

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