Rep. McEachin returns to Washington after illness, plans to run in 2020

U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, speaks at a Democratic watch party in downtown Richmond, Va., Nov. 5, 2019. (Parker Michels-Boyce/ for the Virginia Mercury)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Don McEachin is back on Capitol Hill and says he plans to run in 2020 despite recent health problems.

The Richmond Democrat, 58, has been away from Washington for about three months as he recovered from surgeries he underwent in August.

“I am excited to be back in Washington at work for my constituents,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I am still recovering, but getting stronger every day. Moving forward, I will be working hard to do my job while keeping my doctors happy with my recovery.”

The Washington Post reported that McEachin underwent two surgeries on Aug. 15 and Aug. 29. His office has not said what specific health problem the surgeries were meant to address; McEachin has suffered from cancer and other medical problems in recent years.

“This experience has only reconfirmed for me the critical importance of affordable quality health care,” McEachin said in the statement. “Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions we cannot always control our health so access to affordable quality care must be a right, not a privilege.”

He plans to run for another term, he said.

“I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents and asking for their vote in 2020, so we can continue progress on health care, gun safety, broadband access, addressing climate change and other critical issues.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) hailed McEachin’s return at an event on clean energy held by the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based think tank.

“We’re glad that he came back today,” said the Michigan congresswoman. They’re working together on a bill to require the United States to achieve a 100% clean energy economy by 2050. That legislation will be rolled out in the coming weeks, Dingell said.

Earlier this month, the Virginia congressman attended a Democratic victory party in Richmond on Election Day as Democrats took control of both houses of the General Assembly. His wife, Colette McEachin, won election as Richmond commonwealth’s attorney.