From AP - News Local/State -

US Sen. Kirk Visit To Central Illinois First Since Stroke

 Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., center, flanked by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, right, and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., center, flanked by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, right, and Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, questions Attorney General Eric Holder during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing as lawmakers examine the budget for the Justice Department, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 6, 2013. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is making his first trip to central Illinois since his January 2012 stroke.

Kirk's keynote appearance at Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair Thursday will be his first major political event since he revealed his intention to run for re-election in 2016.

The Highland Park Republican was first elected to President Barack Obama's former Senate seat in 2010 and has been influential in reshaping the party's political strategy.

Kirk's spokesman says the senator will not endorse anyone in the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Along with his appearance at the State Fair, Kirk also will host a veterans' job fair in Peoria with Republican U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock on Wednesday.

Kirk attends therapy three days a week while in Washington and at home in Highland Park.

Categories: Health, Politics