Illinois U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk took center stage Thursday in Springfield for a Republican rally. His appearance comes nearly a year-and-a-half after he suffered a stroke.
Kirk’s health kept him out of the U.S. Senate for about a year.
On Thursday, he made his first big speech since coming back during the State Fair’s Republican Day, in which candidates for office made speeches for more than an hour.
As Kirk made his way to the podium with the help of a cane, the friendly audience waved yard signs with the phrase ‘Never Give Up’ printed on them.
“We are the fifth largest industrial and state and too much is - I think everybody should agree that our Republican fiscally conservative values are the way forward to make sure that we are the ones who are going to rescue Illinois. We already know how to do it. With our economic policies we can do it,” Kirk said in his speech.
Kirk’s speech lasted about 90 seconds, while some candidates for governor went on for more than seven minutes. Kirk’s senate seat isn’t up for election again until 2016.
Tony Arnold covers state politics for WBEZ. Follow him @tonyjarnold
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