Congressman Rush recovering, no plans for leaving the Hill

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CHICAGO As Chicago pastors planned a Monday prayer vigil for his health, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush said he will continue to undergo post-operative treatments while recovering from a March surgery to remove a cancerous tumor.

Treatments are scheduled through the middle of next month for the 61-year-old Chicago Democrat who represents the city’s South Side and southwest suburbs. After that, Rush said he expects to fully return to his congressional duties and remain a candidate for re-election in November.

"Since my surgery, I have been in consistent communications with both my personal and subcommittee staff as well as various members of Congress," Rush said in a recent statement. "Under my direction, my very capable staffs continue to actively manage the business of the people of the First Congressional District. Speaker Pelosi and other House leaders are aware of my current status and remain very supportive."

On Sunday evening, Rush spokesman Toure Muhammad said the congressman would be unavailable for comment for several weeks while recovering at his Chicago home.

Meanwhile, a group of Chicago pastors and community leaders planned a Monday prayer vigil for Rush’s health.

"He’s a great pioneer; he’s been doing great work in this district," Pastor Pervis Thomas, of the New Canaanland Baptist Church, said Sunday evening. "He means a great strength and great stability for our community, that’s why we want to come together. We want to uplift his sprit in prayer."

A noon vigil was planned for Monday at the South Side church.

Rush, who Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama unsuccessfully challenged in 2000 for his seat in Congress, underwent surgery to remove the tumor from a salivary gland on March 1 at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"I am and I remain a candidate for re-election in the November general election and look forward to serving the people of my district," Rush said in the statement. "I want to publicly thank and commend my outstanding medical team." (AP)

______ Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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