[Guest post by DRJ]
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Representative Tom Lantos has cancer and will retire at the end of the year:
“San Mateo Rep. Tom Lantos, the 79-year-old Holocaust survivor who became House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman last year, announced today he will retire at the end of this year after learning that he has cancer of the esophagus.
The 27-year veteran lawmaker first heard the diagnosis after routine medical tests the week before Congress recessed for the holiday break in December, according to his spokeswoman. After discussions with doctors and his family over the last two weeks, Lantos decided to announce his retirement.
“In view of this development and the treatment it will require, I will not seek re-election,” Lantos said in a statement.
The announcement was a surprise for Lantos, who appeared to be invigorated by his new role as a committee chairman after 12 years as a member of the minority in the House. As recently as last year he was boasting to reporters that he was “in the midpoint of my congressional career.”
But his decision was made after he learned about the seriousness of the cancer, which affects the tube carrying food and liquids between the mouth and stomach. He is likely to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment.”
It’s a shame to hear that anyone gets a serious illness. I assume he will continue in Congress through December and that’s a long time to work while receiving what I assume will be aggressive cancer treatment. But he’s obviously strong-willed and I like his attitude:
“Lantos, in his own statement, said he felt fortunate despite his diagnosis.
“It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a member of Congress,” he said. “I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.”
Best wishes to Rep. Lantos. I hope the Bay Area elects someone with as much character as he has.