Rep. John Rusche to take days off for wife

The House Democratic leader’s spouse is undergoing treatment for cancer.

dpopkey@idahostatesman.comJanuary 10, 2014 

Rep. John Rusche, the House minority leader from Lewiston, spoke at a legislative news briefing Jan. 3.

KATHERINE JONES — kjones@idahostatesman.com

House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, planned to be on a 6 p.m. flight Thursday.

Rep. Rusche said he plans to take Fridays off through early March to be with his wife during treatments at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston for a recurrence of ovarian cancer.

Both John and Kay Rusche are physicians. Kay Rusche, 63, blogged frequently in 2010 about her first bout with cancer at “Kay’s Adventure — My experience as a patient.”

She resumed blogging in November with a post headlined “Here we go again,” describing a colonoscopy that detected a tumor and surgery to remove the cancer and parts of her small and large intestines.

“Now I am home, recovering well, eating and without significant pain,” she wrote. “And ready to fight the Bear again.”

Rep. Rusche said Assistant Democratic Leader Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, will fill in as floor leader on Fridays, which are typically the slowest day of the Legislative week.

Rusche said he discussed his absences with House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, whose wife, Sarah, was treated for breast cancer last year, and House Health & Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Wood.

Wood, R-Burley, said he will schedule noncontroversial matters for the committee’s Friday meetings.

“John is a good friend and I’m going to do whatever I can to help him,” Wood said.

The committee meets five days a week and Rusche is trusted on both sides of the aisle for his expertise on health policy.

Rep. Rusche said he doesn’t anticipate naming a replacement to fill in for him. However, he said he would likely choose a substitute if his wife’s treatment requires more frequent absences.

Dan Popkey: 377-6438

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