By Joel Hall
State Sen. Valencia Seay has been released from intensive care at an Atlanta hospital where she has been since late last month.
According to a statement released by the State Senate's press office on Tuesday, Seay, a Riverdale Democrat, has been undergoing treatment at Emory University Hospital for acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, a condition which causes the immune system to attack the nerves.
Seay, who was first elected to the Senate in 2002, is a heart attack survivor, who has seven stents in her heart, according to published reports. She has been hospitalized since March 28.
According to the press statement, Seay's doctor expects her to be released from the hospital within days, and expects her to make a full recovery.
"I truly appreciate everyone's kind thoughts and prayers for my recovery," Seay was quoted as saying in the statement. "The support that I've received means a great deal to me. I look forward to returning home and making a full recovery, so that I can continue my work representing the 34th Senate District and the great State of Georgia."
Once she is released from the hospital, Seay is expected to continue recovering at home. She has asked visitors to wait until she has had a chance to rest at home before visiting.
Seay had been expected to champion a bill in the State Senate that would allow Clayton leaders to put to voters the question of whether to raise the sales tax in the county by 1 percent to allow Clayton to join the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), as a way to fund public transit. The Board of Commissioners shut down the county's C-TRAN bus service March 31, amid budget concerns.
State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Ellenwood), who has been carrying the bill on Seay's behalf, said he and other senate members received a report today of Seay's improvement. While today marks day 36 of the 40-day 2010 legislative session, Jones said he expects Seay to return to the senate before the session concludes.
"I'm so glad that she is feeling so much better," he said. "We've been praying for her ever since we heard of her illness. We are excited that she is going to be returning to the senate very soon. She's making a speedy recovery, and we expect her to return before the end of the session."
Jones said the bill, which would provide an avenue for Clayton to join MARTA, will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow. If the bill is approved by the committee, it will move to the Senate Rules Committee and then to the senate floor for a full vote.
"The bill has gained some traction in the senate like I knew it would," Jones said. "When you look at the support the bill received in the [State] House, I expect the same support in the senate."
Seay represents Georgia's 34th district, which includes parts of Clayton and Fayette counties.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.