Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) announced Monday she will not seek reelection after doctors diagnosed her with Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy, an uncommon brain disorder.
“Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) released the following statement announcing that, amid receiving treatment and regular medical evaluations for Parkinson’s Disease over the course of the past several months, she has received a modified diagnosis of Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy, type-p (PSP-P), a form of Atypical Parkinsonism. As a result, she will serve the remainder of her term in the 118th Congress and not seek reelection,” a press release from Wexton’s office stated.
“When I shared with the world my diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease a few months ago, I knew that the road ahead would have its challenges, and I’ve worked hard to navigate those challenges through consistent treatments and therapies. But I wasn’t making the progress to manage my symptoms that I had hoped, and I noticed the women in my Parkinson’s support group weren’t having the same experience that I was. I sought out additional medical opinions and testing, and my doctors modified my diagnosis to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy – a kind of ‘Parkinson’s on steroids,'” the statement read.
“I’ve always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP. I’ll continue treatment options to manage my symptoms, but they don’t work as well with my condition as they do for Parkinson’s,” she continued.
“I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community. But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones,” she added.
“When I made the decision to run for Congress, this was clearly not the way I anticipated it coming to a close — but then again, pretty much nothing about my time serving here has quite been typical or as expected. I will forever cherish the people from our communities and all around the country I’ve come to know, the challenges we’ve faced together, and the ways both big and small that my team and I have made a difference in the lives of our neighbors. While my time in Congress will soon come to a close, I’m just as confident and committed as ever to keep up the work that got me into this fight in the first place for my remaining time in office – to help build the future we want for our children. I am truly humbled by the trust Virginians have placed in me, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district,” she concluded the statement.
— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) September 18, 2023
From Mayo Clinic:
Progressive supranuclear palsy is an uncommon brain disorder that causes serious problems with walking, balance and eye movements, and later with swallowing. The disorder results from deterioration of cells in areas of your brain that control body movement, coordination, thinking and other important functions. Progressive supranuclear palsy is also called Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome.
Progressive supranuclear palsy worsens over time and can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and swallowing problems. There’s no cure for progressive supranuclear palsy, so treatment focuses on managing the signs and symptoms.
Wexton was first elected to her northern Virginia congressional district in 2018, when she was a part of the freshman class that helped Democrats retake control of the House. In that 2018 election, Wexton flipped her district blue when she defeated then-GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. Wexton is a member of the Appropriations and Budget committees.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Wexton was a member of the Virginia state Senate and was a judge and assistant commonwealth attorney.
Wexton won reelection in 2022 by 6.4 percentage points and Biden would have carried the congressional district by 18 percentage points in 2020. However, without an incumbent, the district could be more competitive in 2024. Virgina’s 10th congressional district spans from some of the western DC exurbs of Leesburg and Loudoun County and south through Fauquier County. The district also encompasses a small part of Fairfax County in Northern Virginia.