As House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, seeks support to fill the role of House Speaker following Kevin McCarthy’s removal, it’s an opportune time to delve into the political journey and health challenges that have shaped his career.
A native of New Orleans, Scalise began his political journey in the mid-90s, transitioning from a career as a computer systems engineer to state politics. He served as a state representative from 1995 to 2007, followed by a brief tenure as a state senator. All the while, his aspirations were set on Washington.
Scalise initially sought the 1st Congressional District seat in 1999 and again in 2004 but deferred to other prominent Republican candidates, including Bobby Jindal. Finally, in 2008, after Jindal’s election as Louisiana governor and subsequent House seat resignation, Scalise won a special election. He has since secured re-election in the conservative district in every election cycle.
However, in 2014, Scalise faced controversy for delivering a speech in 2002 to a White supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. He publicly apologized, expressing regret for the speech and strongly condemning the divisive views of such groups. Despite the near-career-ending scandal, he continued to play a crucial role in garnering Republican support for legislative priorities as the House whip.
In June 2017, Scalise’s life took a dramatic turn when he was seriously wounded in a shooting during congressional Republicans’ practice for an annual charity baseball game. He was shot in the hip by a gunman, requiring extensive rehabilitation and a grueling recovery process. Nevertheless, Scalise returned to Capitol Hill in September 2017, emphasizing the strength of his faith and the goodness in people that he witnessed during his ordeal.
More recently, Rep. Steve Scalise faced yet another challenge when he revealed that he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. Despite this health setback, Scalise, 57, remains committed to his role in the House, describing the cancer as “very treatable” and detected at an early stage.
Scalise’s health journey has been marked by resilience. In 2017, he endured gunshot wounds and a long recovery. Now, as he faces multiple myeloma, Scalise maintains his dedication to serving the people of Louisiana’s First Congressional District while expressing gratitude for early detection and treatability.
“I will tackle this with the same strength and energy as I have tackled past challenges,” Scalise affirmed, underscoring his determination to overcome health obstacles and continue his public service.