State Fair Political Days
7:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

U.S. Senator Mark Kirk Back On Central Illinois Stage

In his first major appearance in central Illinois since his stroke in January, 2012, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk told a crowd of Republicans at the Illinois State Fair to “never give up.”
In his first major appearance in central Illinois since his stroke in January, 2012, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk told a crowd of Republicans at the Illinois State Fair to “never give up.”
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

 A year-and-a-half after his stroke, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk returned to central Illinois for the first time this week.  Members of his party gave him a warm welcome at a Republican rally Thursday at the Illinois State Fair. 

Senator Kirk made his way slowly across the stage, aided by a cane. It has been a long, slow, partial recovery since his stroke last January.

The crowd of Republicans applauded, and waved signs, saying "Never Give Up" - a message Kirk immediately seized upon once he reached the podium: "I would say, uh, never give up and I have, I will not ever give up on Illinois; thank you guys."

But he didn't dwell on himself; he went right into partisan politics.

"We are the fifth largest industrial state,” he said. “I think everybody should agree that our Republican fiscally conservative values are the way forward to make sure that we are the ones who are going to rescue Illinois."

Kirk, who's next up for election in 2016, kept his remarks short -- he spoke for about a minute and a half  -- ending how he began:

"So you know, thanks everybody ... never give up."