Heard on the Hill

Former Rep. John Sweeney is ‘optimistic’ amid cancer diagnosis

‘I’m a resilient guy and I’m not dying,’ New York Republican says of current battle

New York Rep. John E. Sweeney talks to reporters at a news conference on Capitol Hill in 2001. The former congressman is battling cancer. (Jeff Wolfram/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former New York Rep. John E. Sweeney has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

“I’m optimistic,” he told the (Albany) Times Union. “I have faced challenges in the past.”

Those challenges the four-term Republican referred to include a battle with alcoholism and DUI and spousal abuse allegations. Sweeney’s downward spiral surfaced after a 2006 reelection loss to Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, who is now the state’s junior senator. 

Sweeney changed course in 2011, joining Tully Rinckey, a law firm in Washington, D.C., where he’s currently counsel focusing on “congressional investigations and federal sector employment and labor law,” according to his LinkedIn page. He also practices law in Clifton Park, New York. He’s been sober for at least a decade.

“I’m a resilient guy, and I am not dying,” he said.

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