MADISON, Wis. - A Wisconsin lawmaker returned to work Thursday, Oct. 14 after surviving a serious case of COVID-19. State Sen. André Jacque (R-De Pere) chaired a committee meeting, joining by phone.
Jacque was hospitalized Aug. 16 and later placed on a ventilator. On Sept. 21, he left the hospital and went to a rehabilitation facility for respiratory and occupational therapy.
Jacque chairs the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children and Families, which held the public hearing. The senator has not yet returned to his office at the Capitol; right now, he's still in a rehab center.
"I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has reached out to me with their support, prayers, good wishes, I especially want to thank the dedicated medical professionals that are helping me in my recovery," Jacque said at the beginning of the hearing. "Looking forward to getting back."
In a deeply divided Capitol, Democrats shared support for the Republican senator.
"I was really excited to hear his voice. I along with a lot of other colleagues was praying for his return, and that he was going to be OK, so I was so happy to hear him on the phone and sounding well," said State Sen. LaTonya Johnson (D-Milwaukee). "Sen. Jacque is a father, and so I wanted him to be around for a long time, for his family and for his children."
"I join others in this room who continue to wish the senator a full recovery," said State Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton).
Jacque, 40, has six children. He had opposed mandates for masks and vaccines and has not said if he's vaccinated against COVID-19. His wife, Renee, urged people to consider getting the shot, writing during the senator's hospitalization: "While vaccination is a personal choice, I ask that those individuals who are eligible and able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine please consider placing their trust in the medical professionals who recommend it."
Jacque told the Associated Press last week that he is still using a walker, but that his breathing was "almost all the way back."