Arizona Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva calls cancer diagnosis 'difficult to process' but promises he'll 'continue to work' through treatment

 April 3, 2024

Rep. Raul Grijalva announced Tuesday that he's been diagnosed with cancer, the Washington Examiner reported. The Arizona Democrat released a statement but did not specify what type of cancer it is or his prognosis.

“This diagnosis has been difficult to process, but I am confident in the vigorous course of treatment that my medical team has developed," the House Natural Resources Committee ranking member shared in his statement. There's no word on what type of cancer it is or what exactly the treatment entails.

"I am grateful to my family, friends, and doctors for their support, and I am working hard to get healthy and return to business as usual as soon as I am able. I appreciate your consideration, well wishes and respect for my family’s privacy during this time," he added.

"My heart goes out to others struggling with cancer, and I wish everyone strength in their fight," Grijalva added. Doctors found the cancer after he sought treatment for a persistent cough thought to be pneumonia.

Forging Ahead

report from The Hill noted that Grijalva currently sits on the Congressional Education and Labor Committee and Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He is also Chair Emeritus of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Despite the diagnosis and treatment, Grijalva plans to stay in office and forge ahead with this work. "I am in regular communication with my staff, and I continue to work as I undergo treatment," he assured constituents.

He has asked for privacy during his battle with cancer. Grijalva joins others who have recently served through serious illnesses.

Earlier this year, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) received treatment for blood cancer. He kept his seat during his recovery and is responding well to treatment, Politico reported.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) also chose to remain in office after he had abdominal surgery. In a dramatic move, Green rushed from his hospital bed, still in scrubs, to vote against impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Texas Tribune reported.

The Public's Right to Know

The people who serve in government face their personal health battles, but the public has a right to know about them. This fact became clear after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin failed to disclose that he was hospitalized, CBS News reported.

For days, President Joe Biden was kept in the dark as one of his top advisers was being treated in intensive care. This caused a dustup within the administration while Lloyd recovered from surgical complications at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

It led to calls for his ouster, including from House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). "It is shocking and absolutely unacceptable that the Department of Defense waited multiple days to notify the president, the National Security Council, and the American people that Defense Secretary Austin was hospitalized and unable to perform his duties."

Ultimately, Lloyd has continued to serve without further incident. Still, it underscores the right of the president and the public to know what's happening in the lives of the people in charge of running the country.

For his part, Grijalva did the responsible thing in notifying the public that he was being treated for cancer. Hopefully, he will experience a full and speedy recovery from the dreaded disease.

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