Rep. Kirkpatrick of Arizona seeking treatment for alcoholism

Jonathan J. Cooper
Associated Press

Phoenix – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona said Wednesday that she’s taking time off from her congressional duties to seek treatment for alcohol dependence after a “serious” fall last week.

Kirkpatrick, a Democrat whose swing district in southern Arizona has been targeted by Republicans in the November election, said she’s “finally seeking this help after struggling to do so in the past.”

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

U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona

Kirkpatrick did not release details of her injury last week but described alcohol dependence as “the underlying cause of my fall.” She said with physical therapy she can fully recover.

She did not she say how long she would be absent from Congress but indicated she has no plans to step aside, saying she has “the full expectation and desire to return to work stronger and healthier and to continue serving my beloved Arizona.” She said her staff would continue representing constituents and she would publicly disclose her position on all the recorded votes she misses.

Kirkpatrick, 69, has positioned herself as a moderate in Congress, representing parts of Arizona for most of the past decade, including rural and conservative areas.

She currently represents a swing district in Tucson and southeastern Arizona that Republicans are targeting in the 2020 election. Seven Republicans have filed paperwork to challenge Kirkpatrick in November.

She previously represented a different swing district in northern and eastern Arizona before she ran unsuccessfully against Republican Sen. John McCain in 2016.

McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, said on Twitter that she’s “sending lots of support and friendship to @RepKirkpatrick.”

Before her first run for Congress in 2008, Kirkpatrick was a state lawmaker, prosecutor and attorney.