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State

Kirk to return to Senate on Jan. 3

(MCT) — WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke in January, plans to return to the Senate floor on Jan. 3, the first day of the new Congress, Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., said Thursday.

A Senate official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the return date and said it would be marked by a “significant event” with Kirk walking up the Capitol steps to the chamber.

Hultgren said there were plans for a “big party and celebration when he comes back,” and that lawmakers from Illinois may gather in or near the Senate chamber to welcome him.

“I’m just really excited,” he said. “I’m so grateful for the recovery he’s been able to make.”

Hultgren said he had not visited with Kirk, a fellow Republican, but had talked to him a few times on the phone since he was stricken.

Aides to Kirk had no immediate comment.

On Nov. 4, the 53-year-old Kirk climbed 37 floors of Chicago’s Willis Tower during a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where he is being treated.

Kirk, later told reporters he planned to return to Washington in January, without specifying a date. He served almost 10 years in the House before being elected to the Senate in 2010.

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