Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia announced Wednesday that he will step down from the U.S. Senate at the end of the year.
As reported by The Hill, Isakson said his Parkinson’s disease was “progressing” and that he’d had surgery recently to remove a growth on his kidney.
In a heartbreaking statement announcing his decision to step down at the end of the year, the 74-year-old lawmaker spoke briefly about his ailing medical conditions.
Here’s what he wrote to Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, where he notified him of his decision to leave the Senate early.
After much prayer and consultation with my family and my doctors, I have made the very tough decision to leave the U.S. Senate at the end of this year. I have informed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp today that I will resign my Senate seat effective December 31, 2019.
I am leaving a job I love because my health challenges are taking their toll on me, my family and my staff. My Parkinson’s has been progressing, and I am continuing physical therapy to recover from a fall in July. In addition, this week I had surgery to remove a growth on my kidney.
I therefore am notifying you that I am resigning my U.S. Senate seat effective Dec. 31, 2019. While it pains me greatly to leave in the middle of my term, I know it is the right thing to do for the citizens of Georgia.
Isakson underwent two back surgeries in 2017 and fractured his ribs during a fall in his Washington, D.C., apartment last month.
Isakson’s term runs through 2022, and Kemp, under state law, is allowed to fill the vacant Senate seat.
A special election will be held to fill the remaining two years of Isakson’s term during the election in 2020.
Isakson has been a member of the U.S. senate since 2005 after spending six years in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He currently chairs the Senate Ethics and Veterans Affairs committees and serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Finance; and Foreign Relations committees.
Several lawmakers praised Isakson on Wednesday for his service and wished him well moving forward.
“He’s a gentleman who’s spent his career looking for common ground and actually trying to accomplish something in Washington. Wishing Johnny and Dianne all the best today,” Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said.
Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn called Isakson a “wonderful human being and a great Senator.”
And Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, said in a statement that “no one is more respected by the other members of the Senate than Johnny Isakson is.”