• U.S. Rep., former Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford to be back to full strength in little time

    By: Amanda Winkle

    Updated:

    U.S. Rep. and former Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford was taken from the U.S. Capitol on a stretcher Wednesday afternoon.

    Several sources told Action News Jax that Rutherford is stable after collapsing in the House chambers earlier Wednesday.

    Rutherford's chief of staff, Kelly Simpson, said:

    "Congressman Rutherford is recuperating at a local hospital on his way to a full and swift recovery.  On Wednesday evening, Congressman Rutherford experienced significant discomfort while just outside the House Chamber.  Mr. Rutherford received medical attention and treatment in the Capitol before being transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.  After ruling out more serious concerns, testing showed that he is experiencing an acute digestive flare up that is generating the discomfort.  He did not suffer a heart attack as widely reported.  In fact, doctors are happy to report that all of his vitals look great.  While he will briefly remain in the hospital to treat the inflammation, the Congressman's care providers expect that he will be back to full strength in little time.  John and his family are so grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support from friends and neighbors in Northeast Florida and colleagues here in Washington, and they salute the physicians, EMTs, and staff for their exceptional response."

    Fox News' Chad Pergram initially reported that Rutherford, who represents Florida's Fourth Congressional District, "had a cardiac episode in GOP cloakroom."

    According to Action News Jax Washington Insider Jaime Dupree, Rutherford was on the House floor for a series of evening votes, which began at 5:49 p.m.

    Dupree said Rutherford voted "yes" on an amendment to the Regulatory Accountability Act. Records from the House Clerk's office show that he was there and voting for the first vote, but did not vote for the next 10 House votes.

    That is when Rutherford suffered his medical emergency in the GOP cloakroom, which is just off the House floor.

    Action News Jax is told that Congress members prayed around Rutherford as he was taken out in a stretcher.

    Rep. Al Lawson, who was also newly elected to Florida's Fifth Congressional District, said he spent most of the day with Rutherford. Lawson said after the votes, he was fine and they were supposed to meet in the morning for a Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast between Congressional Republicans and Democrats.

    "He's such a fine gentleman and we have enjoyed working together and I'm just praying that everything goes OK and he comes out of this," Lawson told Action News Jax's Paige Kelton.

    Lawson also released an official statement on Rutherford:

    “My thoughts and prayers are with John and Patricia Rutherford during this time, as he deals with this very difficult health challenge. John is a good friend and colleague. During the past few weeks, we had been discussing issues we could work on together for our community.
     
    "I ask the people of Florida to join me in praying for John and his full recovery.”

    Listen to the Full Raw Interview with Lawson on SoundCloud:

    Locally, Jacksonville mayor Lenny Curry offered up prayers for Rutherford on Twitter:

    The Duval County GOP also offered its thoughts for Rutherford on Twitter:

    Florida House Rep. Lake Ray III, who ran against Rutherford in the November race for District 4, took to Facebook:

    Jacksonville City Councilman Jim Love also told Action News Jax on Twitter that he is praying for Rutherford and his wife, Pat.

    Follow @ActionNewsJax on Twitter, refresh this story and watch Action News Jax for the latest updates.



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