Senate president pro tem says he has Lou Gehrig’s disease

July 19, 2021 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Longtime state Sen. David Tomassoni has informed his constituents that he has Lou Gehring’s disease, also known as ALS.

The motor neuron disease is a progressive, degenerative disease that destroys the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movement.

Tomassoni, 68, of Chisholm, said he was diagnosed a while ago, and felt the effects of the disease through this year’s legislative session, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“There is no sugar coating it — this is a tough disease, and I will feel the effects of it in my speech, my movement, and my life,” he wrote in a letter to his constituents. “Initially, I decided to not let anyone know about it but dealing with it upfront and becoming an advocate seems to be the right direction to go.”


Tomassoni was first elected to the state House in 1992. He was elected to the Senate in 2000. The longtime Democrat is now serving as an independent.

“I intend to look at each day as the best day of the rest of our lives and I’m going to live with this disease. Further, I am going to continue representing you to the best of my abilities like I have always tried to do in elected office.”