Heart condition might force Hundstad from SD SenatePIERRE — Sen. Jim Hundstad said Wednesday he probably won’t be returning for the remainder of the 2012 legislative session.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — Sen. Jim Hundstad said Wednesday he probably won’t be returning for the remainder of the 2012 legislative session.
Hundstad, D-Bath, said he must be in Sioux Falls for a stress test early Friday morning at the Veterans Administration hospital.
The health of his circulatory system is being analyzed. A free heart screening for legislators last week indicated an extremely high level of calcium in his arteries.
An angiogram could follow on Friday, he said, and from those results doctors would determine whether he needs angioplasty, stents or bypass surgery.
Hundstad, who turned 70 in December, said he went to the screening because of the urging of a friend.
Myron Rau is a lobbyist and chief executive for the South Dakota auto dealers and trucking associations. He participated in a previous screening and consequently had work performed on his circulatory system a year ago.
“Myron urged me to go to the screening,” Hundstad said. “I’m a guy who has to be really sick — really sick — to go see a doctor.”
Senate Democratic leader Jason Frerichs of Wilmot brought the situation to the Senate’s attention as a final item of unscheduled business Wednesday afternoon.
After a round of applause, Hundstad stood and said goodbye to the other members of the Senate and its staff.
He said he would be gone today and, because of the very high test reading, expects he will need to have medical treatment.
He said he likely won’t be back for any of the final 10 working days in the session because he expects to have to rest for several weeks.
Hundstad, who is one of just five Democrats in the 35-member Senate, said he doesn’t plan to seek re-election this year.
His comments were met with another round of applause, followed by many handshakes and best-wishes.
He is serving his 12th year in the South Dakota Legislature. He was a member of the House of Representatives for two terms, from 2001 through 2004, and has been in the Senate for four terms since.
He currently is the Democrats’ assistant leader in the Senate. His legislative district covers much of Brown County and Spink County.
“I could be back on Tuesday,” Hundstad said, then added, “That doesn’t seem very likely.”