SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Senate Minority Leader Karen Mayne announced she has been diagnosed with cancer.
The West Valley City Democrat, considered one of the most powerful politicians on Capitol Hill, is already recovering from a shoulder and head injury she sustained in a fall last week. It was the injury that led to the discovery of her cancer diagnosis.
"Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes. I have felt them all, and I greatly appreciate all of you and your support," Sen. Mayne said in a statement Friday.
"This past week has been difficult for my family and me as I have been forced to focus on my health amidst unfortunate news. I had an accident where I broke my shoulder, and during the medical analysis, I discovered that I have cancer. With the support of my family and friends, I will undergo the proper treatment regimen suggested by my doctors. I am hopeful to return to the Legislature soon where I can be with all of you, my friends, and colleagues. I have unfinished work to do. I look forward to being with you again."
Sen. Mayne did not disclose the type of cancer she has been diagnosed with.
The Utah State Senate rallied around her on Friday.
"We are deeply saddened by Sen. Mayne's diagnosis. She is a close friend and confidant. Karen is integral to the Senate and loved by everyone. We offer our love and support to our dear colleague and friend. She is a strong, resilient leader of the minority caucus and has the entire Senate's unwavering support," the Senate Majority and Minority Caucuses said in a statement. "We pray for strength and comfort for her and her family as she undertakes this battle. She's a fighter, and we look forward to the day when she is back with us."
Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, the minority whip, has been acting in her stead appearing in news conferences with reporters and shepherding legislation on behalf of her caucus. One of her Republican colleagues, Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, carried one of her bills in the legislature in Sen. Mayne's absence, presenting it to a Senate committee for her. It passed unanimously.
The Utah Democratic Party also issued a statement Saturday, saying:
"We were extremely saddened yesterday to learn the news of Sen. Mayne’s cancer diagnosis. We are sending love, prayers, and support to her and her family during this difficult time, and we wish her nothing but the best as she begins to undergo treatment. Sen. Mayne has long been a tireless advocate for Utahns in the Senate, a pillar in our party, and a friend to many, and we look forward to her return to the Legislature, where she will no doubt continue working to make Utah a better place for everyone."