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'I'm heartbroken' | Rep. Wexton won't seek reelection, continues treatment for rare neurological disorder

Wexton was diagnosed with Parkinson's in April, but now says her medical team has updated the diagnosis to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy, type-p (PSP).

LEESBURG, Va. — A congresswoman who has represented a Northern Virginia district for four years says she will not be seeking reelection due to a health concern. 

Rep. Jennifer Wexton released a statement Monday announcing that she would finish out her current term in Congress, but would not be seeking reelection. Wexton was diagnosed with Parkinson's in April, but in her latest statement, says her medical team has updated the diagnosis to Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy, type-p (PSP-P), a form of Atypical Parkinsonism. According to the National Institutes of Health, PSP is a rare neurological disorder that affects body movements, walking and balance and eye movements.

Wexton's statement said, in part: 

“I’ve always believed that honesty is the most important value in public service, so I want to be honest with you now – this new diagnosis is a tough one. There is no ‘getting better’ with PSP ... I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community. 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."

When Wexton first announced her diagnosis in April, she vowed to continue her work in Congress, saying, “I’m not going to let Parkinson’s stop me from being me." But in her Monday statement, Wexton said the treatment options she is pursuing don't work as well for PSP as they do for Parkinson's. 

“When I made the decision to run for Congress, this was clearly not the way I anticipated it coming to a close — but then again, pretty much nothing about my time serving here has quite been typical or as expected," Wexton's statement continued. "I will forever cherish the people from our communities and all around the country I’ve come to know, the challenges we’ve faced together, and the ways both big and small that my team and I have made a difference in the lives of our neighbors." 

Wexton has served as a representative of Virginia’s District 10 since 2019, sitting on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee. She was formerly a state senator where she served in Virginia’s General Assembly for five years. The DMV native, who has degrees from UMD and William and Mary, currently lives in Leesburg with her husband, Andrew Wexton, and their two sons. 

“When Jennifer joined the House five years ago her future seemed limitless," Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) said in response to Wexton's news. "Now she has been robbed of much of that future with medical news that is tragic and deeply unfair. As Jennifer continues to serve her constituents, she will have my friendship and support, along with that of so many others." 

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