Democrat Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton announced that she would not be seeking re-election after being diagnosed with “Parkinson’s on steroids.”
Wexton, 54, issued a press release on Monday announcing that her doctors had changed her diagnosis from Parkinson’s Disease to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy.
The Democrat congresswoman said that she “knew that the road ahead would have its challenges” after sharing her initial diagnosis in April and that she’s been navigating “those challenges through consistent treatments and therapies.”
“But I wasn’t making the progress to manage my symptoms that I had hoped, and I noticed the women in my Parkinson’s support group weren’t having the same experience that I was,” Wexton said.
“I sought out additional medical opinions and testing, and my doctors modified my diagnosis to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsey — a kind of ‘Parkinson’s on steroids,'” she continued.
Wexton said that she has “always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service” and that “the new diagnosis is a tough one.”
The Virginia congresswoman said there is “no ‘getting better’ with PSP” and that she plans to “continue treatment options” to keep her symptoms in check, but added the treatments “don’t work as well” with her new diagnosis as they did for her Parkinson’s diagnosis.
“I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community,” Wexton said. “But taking into consideration the prognosis for my health over the coming years, I have made the decision not to seek reelection once my term is complete and instead spend my valued time with Andrew, our boys, and my friends and loved ones.”
Wexton said that her retirement “was clearly not the way” she anticipated it when she decided to run for Congress and that she “will forever cherish the people from our communities and all around the country” she has gotten to know as well as the challenges they have faced and the way she has made a difference in her community.
“While my time in Congress will soon come to a close, I’m just as confident and committed as ever to keep up the work that got me into this fight in the first place for my remaining time in office — to help build the future we want for our children. I am truly humbled by the trust Virginians have placed in me, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of our district.”
Wexton first took office in 2019 after defeating then-incumbent GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia for her House seat. She defended that seat in 2022 against Republican candidate Hung Cao by 53% of the vote.
The Democratic congresswoman said that her initial Parkinson’s diagnosis primarily affected her speech.
“If there’s one thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, it’s that Parkinson’s disease sucks,” the representative said at the time.
“You may notice I speak more quickly now. It also has affected how I walk and keep my balance,” she said.
“I’m doing well,” Wexton said. “I’ve got a positive attitude, and I’ve got the strong support of so many family, friends and loved ones.”
Wexton’s retirement opens up a purple district that Republicans and Democrats alike will be looking to hold.
Fox News Digital’s Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed reporting.