Rep. Ted Poe, R-Humble, said morning that he was recently diagnosed with leukemia and will spend the rest of the summer concentrating on treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Members of Congress will leave Washington at the end of this week for an extended recess that will include the national party conventions and the month of August.
“It is my intention to beat cancer and have a full recovery and continue to represent the people of Texas,” Poe said in a news release.
One of Poe’s claims to fame in the U.S. House is his frequent habit of starting the day with remarks on the chamber floor. He ended his cancer announcement with the same sentence with which he tags those speeches: “And that’s just the way it is.”
Elected to Congress in 2004, Poe previously served for 22 years as a criminal court judge. In that position, he built a local brand called “Poetic Justice,” where he delivered unique sentences to offenders.
In Congress, he is a fierce conservative. He’s proved over the years to be a tough questioner at hearings in his capacity as a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.
Poe is popular among Republicans and many Democrats. He makes playful bets over local sports teams with Democrats and works with the opposition on low-profile, nonpolarizing legislative issues. Most notably, he struck up a close friendship with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords over border security issues.
He ran unopposed in his House District 2 primary this year, and national Democrats are not seriously challenging his strongly Republican seat in the fall.