OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The retired Nebraska Army National Guard colonel who is running for the U.S. House in western Nebraska is also battling cancer.
Tom Brewer told the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1kwqztf ) he was diagnosed with leukemia shortly before he decided to challenge Rep. Adrian Smith in the Republican primary for Nebraska's 3rd District.
Brewer said doctors caught the cancer early, so he decided to continue with his plan to run for office.
"After consulting with my physicians and family, we made the decision to go forward with the campaign as planned," he told the newspaper. "My doctors are optimistic that the cancer was caught early; it is a very treatable form of leukemia, with a high percentage of success and remission."
Brewer plans to continue campaigning while undergoing six weeks of chemotherapy. The Republican primary will be held on May 13.
Brewer, 55, grew up in Gordon, Neb. He recently retired from the military because injuries he suffered during an attack in Afghanistan made it impossible to continue serving in the National Guard.
Both Brewer and Smith offer voters similar conservative positions on most issues.
Smith has represented Western Nebraska in the U.S. House since 2007. Brewer is a political newcomer who says he would offer the 3rd District stronger, more independent leadership if he's elected.
The type of cancer Brewer has may be linked to his 36-year military career. The federal Veterans Affairs Department says this kind of "hairy-cell leukemia" has been linked to certain herbicides the military has used.
Brewer said he came in contact with the herbicide during his six deployments to Afghanistan.
Tom Brewer for Congress: http://tombrewerfornebraska.com
Adrian Smith for Congress: www.joinadrian.com
Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com