TWIN FALLS • Despite a tussle with serious health issues, state Rep. Steve Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, will serve in the 2014 Legislature.

Hartgen underwent a triple bypass heart surgery earlier this year. A few weeks afterward, he contracted a rare viral disease that left him unable to walk and forced him to stay in the hospital for more than three months.

“I have been making good progress,” he said. “I will not be using a substitute (in the Legislature).”

In October, Hartgen said he was still unsure if he would be well enough to attend when the legislative session starts in January and might send substitutes in his place.

Terry McCurdy, former president of the Twin Falls Chamber of Commerce, and Rich Stivers, whose father was a former Idaho House speaker, were among candidates selected to replace Hartgen.

On Monday, Hartgen said that is no longer necessary because of the gains he’s made in his recovery.

He primarily uses a wheelchair to get around but said he hopes to use a cane by January.

“It’s an honor to serve in the Legislature,” he said. “And I wasn’t sure I was going to do that ... but I’ll be ready.”

Hartgen was elected in 2008 as representative for District 24 and was re-elected in 2012. The Twin Falls native is a former publisher of the Times-News.

(1) comment

underdog

Mr. Hartgen is an asset to the legislature and we need him there. Our thoughts and prayers are with him for a full recovery.

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