Friday, February 1, 2008

Stennett to undergo chemo, radiation

Senior state senator released from Boise hospital

Express Staff Writer

Clint Stennett

Idaho Senate Minority Leader Clint Stennett, D-Ketchum, was released from the hospital Thursday after undergoing a Tuesday, Jan. 29, surgery to treat an apparent brain cancer.

"Senator Stennett will undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments soon," says a Thursday press release from the Senate Minority Leadership Office. The press release did not elaborate on the surgery, or the severity or extent of the ailment.

"Senator Stennett is feeling good and is healing better than expected," the press release says.

During his treatment, Stennett intends to resume his legislative duties. Former Sun Valley Mayor Jon Thorson has been appointed to fulfill Stennett's senate duties until he returns.

"I'm really saddened by what's happened," said Stennett's longtime colleague, House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum. "But he's strong, and I'm just so impressed with what medicine is doing these days with these kinds of problems.

"I'm just very positive about what's happening here. He's going to get well. There are so many people who are pulling for him, and that's always part of it."

Stennett's condition, brain swelling that constituted a "serious health condition," was announced in a press release Monday. During a checkup last Thursday, Jan. 24, doctors determined that Stennett required surgery to reduce what was termed in the Monday press release as "minor swelling on his brain."

Stennett said he expects to make a full recovery and to return to work during the current legislative session.

"I know that my replacement will do a great job filling in while I look forward to a steady recovery and full return to politics and public service," Stennett said in the Monday press release. "This is one of those speed bumps that comes in life, but I am fortunate to have the support of my wife, Michelle, and my good friends in the Wood River and Magic valleys. I'm very positive about my health and the future and look forward to the day I can resume working for the people."

Stennett represents District 25, which includes Blaine, Camas, Lincoln and Gooding counties. He leads Idaho's caucus of seven senators in the Legislature and is the state's most senior elected Democrat. The Assistant Minority Leader, Sen. David Langhorst, D-Boise, has taken over the floor duties in Stennett's absence.

State Republicans, too, wished Stennett well in a Tuesday statement.

"Sen. Stennett's respect eclipses political boundaries," they said. "We join our Democratic colleagues in our prayers for Clint and Michelle. We look forward to Sen. Stennett's full recovery and quick return to the Senate chamber."

Stennett grew up in the Magic Valley and attended Idaho State University. He owned and operated media outlets in the Wood River Valley for most of his business career. He was first elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in 1990 and served two terms before being elected to the Senate.

Stennett and his family are grateful for all the prayers and support, says the Thursday press release. Recovery wishes should be directed to the Senate Minority Office in Boise.

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