LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas is back at work after undergoing emergency heart surgery and says he plans to seek re-election in 2016.
Monday was Boozman’s first day back at his Washington office after having surgery on April 22. The freshman Republican senator told The Associated Press on Monday that he expects to run for a second term in two years, and says his surgery hasn’t changed that.
“I’m planning on running, very definitely,” Boozman said. “I think because of the fact I’ve come through this so well, not only will I have a full recovery but these things really do make you take a little better care of yourself, so ironically, I think I’ll live a lot longer as a result of this happening.”
Doctors diagnosed Boozman with an acute aortic dissection, or a tear in the aorta, and performed a surgery that lasted several hours. A former congressman from northwest Arkansas, Boozman defeated Democratic U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 election to win the Senate seat.
Boozman said he’s felt much better as his recovery progressed, and that just two or three weeks ago he was so weak he couldn’t sit up on his own.
“Each day, once you start the healing process and get moving in the right direction, it’s been remarkable how each day you just get stronger and stronger,” Boozman said.
Boozman, who sits on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said he planned to focus on addressing the delayed treatments and other issues within the VA system that led to Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation last month.