Illinois Senator Mark Kirk has come through surgery to relieve pressure on his brain as a result of a stroke, his office announced today. The 52-year-old Senator is currently filling the seat vacated by President Barack Obama.
Kirk's office released an official statement saying, "Early this morning the Senator underwent surgery to relieve swelling around his brain stemming from the stroke. The surgery was successful. Due to his young age, good health and the nature of the stroke, doctors are very confident in the Senator's recovery over the weeks ahead."
Kirk, a Republican, was elected into office with 56.6 percent of the vote against Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias, Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones and Libertarian candidate Mike Labno. The seat was previously held by Roland Burris, who was appointed by former Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the position held by Barack Obama.
Senator Kirk currently sits on several committees, including the Committee on Appropriations, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and the Special Committee on Aging. He previously served in the House of Representatives for five terms before moving to the Senate.
Kirk has stated that job creation is a top priority and that he will work to "propose, support, and enact policies that make it cheaper and easier for companies to add employees." He helped draft the "Small Business Bill of Rights" and other policies to aid in job creation. Illinois currently suffers from an unemployment rate of 9.8 percent, according to Local Area Unemployment Statistics.