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Friday, May 12, 2017

Rep. Pete DeGraaf reveals decision to resign from Kansas House

May 12, 2017  By Tim Carpenter

Rep. Pete DeGraaf, a conservative Republican member of the House, said he would end his service in “several days,” leaving more than 18 months in an unexpired term. (2016 file photo/The Associated Press)

Mulvane Rep. Pete DeGraaf announced his decision Friday to resign from the Kansas Legislature due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.
DeGraaf, a conservative Republican member of the House, said he would end his service in “several days,” leaving more than 18 months in an unexpired term. A minister, he was elected a state representative in 2008.
“Today is the day that is filled with lots of emotions, ranging from a deep sense of gratitude and thanksgiving for the wonderful experience of serving with you in this House — the people’s House,” he said. “In spite of the current challenges that we now have, Kansas is a wonderful place to live, to work and to raise a family. There are many issues that still concern me, but I entrust those to you now.”
He said colleagues in the House had been a source of encouragement to him and his wife, Karen, as the incurable disease took a toll. He had complainedin 2015 to doctors about pain and being unusually tired, which resulted in the diagnosis.
“I don’t have jitters, like 30 percent of us don’t have jitters or shakes, and while I may look normal, and some of you may say I look great, that’s Pete on Parkinson’s medication. That’s Pete in public,” he said.
He’s used a makeshift bed in his Capitol office to conserve energy for work on committees dedicated to elections, higher education, veterans and information technology.
“I tell you these things not to make you feel sorry for me, but rather to help you understand that people with various kinds of disabilities may look normal, but we still need your patience, forbearance, mercy, forgiveness,” DeGraaf said.

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