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Minnesota Congressman Has Cancer

February 2, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Rep. Bruce Vento, D-Minn., announced today that he has lung cancer and will not seek a 13th term.

Vento said he will finish this term but will not seek re-election so he can focus on treatment of his illness, malignant mesothelioma. The cancer was detected in its early stages and doctors believe it is treatable, Vento said in a written statement.

``The specialists at the Mayo Clinic have recommended an aggressive course of treatment,″ said Vento, 59. ``Such treatment must be my first priority. It is a fight that I did not expect but it is a challenge that I hope to win.″

Vento, a St. Paul native, has represented the 4th District since 1977. The district includes the eastern area of the Twin Cities and is considered Democratic-leaning because of its strong labor tradition and concentration of state government workers.

Vento’s retirement gives an unexpected boost to Republicans, who have not held the seat since 1946 and are desperately trying to keep their slim majority in the House.

Among Vento’s accomplishments in Congress were the Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act; legislation that led to drug prevention programs for pregnant women; and his work on the Banking and Natural Resources committees.

Before he was elected to the House, Vento served in the Minnesota Legislature from 1971 to 1976. He previously was a high school science and social studies teacher in the Minneapolis school system for more than 10 years.

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