Yesterday in the House Commerce Committee, embattled Rep. Curry Todd made an impromptu announcement, telling colleagues that he was diagnosed four years ago with a rare form of incurable cancer. The revelation came during the committee's discussion of a bill that would require insurance companies to pay for oral chemotherapy pills as a part of their cancer treatment coverage.
Later, Todd held a press conference to formally address the news and state his intention to seek re-election despite his illness. As you can see, he took offense to a question about his pending legal case. Todd, who sponsored the controversial "Guns-in-Bars" legislation last year, was arrested last October and charged with DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
Early on in his comments to reporters, Todd made a point to say that his announcement was not intended as a way to attract sympathy. The point was obviously to preempt the suggestion — which no one had made — that his announcement might be timed with the intention of softening the public's view of the legislator, who has been a rather unsympathetic character in recent months.
We believe him. Todd was visibly affected by the discussion in the committee, and his surprising announcement seemed to stem from that. But he should not assume the ability to defend himself against an assumed attack and then take umbrage at a question about the incident that brought about the need for such a defense in the first place.
It goes without saying that Pith wishes him well, with regard to his health. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone whose life hasn't been affected by cancer in one way or another. But if Todd is going to continue to serve as an elected official — as he intends to do — it seems fair that he should expect questions about the charges against him to come up.