ST. PAUL, MN – Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R- East Gull Lake) issued the following statement regarding Sen. David Tomassoni’s ALS diagnosis:
“Senator David Tomassoni is one of the most beloved members of the Senate and it is nothing short of a shock to learn of his ALS diagnosis. I ask everyone to keep David and Charlotte, and their family, in your prayers. I offer my encouragement to David and his family, and just to know today the whole Senate is fighting alongside you.”
Senator vows to continue representing his constituents
Dear Iron Rangers—My Friends:
I have had the honor to represent you in the Minnesota State House of Representatives and now as your State Senator for 29 years. I am humbled by the trust you have placed in me, and I have worked to the best of my abilities to represent you with passion, enthusiasm, and common sense in our work to make the Iron Range a great place to live and raise families.
During this time, I have seen people struggle with loss of jobs, frustrations with the government, financial difficulties, and mental and physical health issues. When folks with issues contact me, I have tried to make government work for them, address their issues and try to improve the situation. Everyone struggles eventually. It is the nature of community to reach out and support them. I have tried to do this in my role as your senator and neighbor.
That’s why I have fought for more resources for children’s mental health, for research into diseases, to make our water cleaner, for affordable health care for all, and support for our veterans suffering from the effects of their service. All noble causes. All the right things to do. When you called, I tried to be there.
Most recently, I have been diagnosed with ALS — Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis — commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the famous baseball player. There is no sugar coating it — this is a tough disease, and I will feel the effects of it in my speech, my movement, and my life. Initially, I decided to not let anyone know about it but dealing with it upfront and becoming an advocate seems to be the right direction to go. … I may not be on the golf course as often as I had been in the past but I fully plan to stay active.
I want you to know that I am a person living and working with ALS. I have had it for a while now as I worked all through the entire legislative session feeling its effects. I intend to look at each day as the best day of the rest of our lives and I’m going to live with this disease. Further, I am going to continue representing you to the best of my abilities like I have always tried to do in elected office.
Many have lived and successfully contributed back to the community with ALS. For example, Stephen Hawking, the famous physicist, lived for 50 years after he was diagnosed. Mao Zedong lived till 82 with ALS. And some of our friends and neighbors are courageously battling this disease or other tough diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s, addiction, and mental health problems every day. I give you my word that my brain and my body will continue to represent you with the same passion and vigor I’ve tried to give in the past. I have been fortunate and blessed in my life, my career, in sports, and with friends and a great family. This is the next challenge.
I truly appreciate all the support I have had from my constituents over these past years and I look forward to working for you in the future. … I’m anticipating that some of you may want to contact me so please don’t get upset if I don’t respond. Just know that your words will be held close to my heart.
David J. Tomassoni