Sen. David Tomassoni of the Iron Range first revealed he had Lou Gehrig’s disease a little more than a year ago.
He continues to battle.
The neurodegenerative condition amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS, is Tomassoni’s lifelong goal, the 69-year-old said.
Tomassoni spoke while sitting in a cozy recliner at the Solvay Hospice House in Duluth.
The Chisholm native and legislator announced in February that he will leave the legislature on January 3, 2023.
Tomassoni assisted in bringing a measure that allocated $25 million for ALS research and caregiver support into law in March.
Currently, Tomassoni was watching broadcast news of the congressional hearings looking into the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, hidden away in the woods with potted flowers outside his chamber. He claimed that it was a reprieve from nonstop game shows.
Being here is quite challenging, he said. I do receive wonderful care, though, so that helps.
The fact that Tomassoni is finishing his 30-year career as an independent feels less significant today than it did when it first occurred. He receives a wide variety of guests.
When the Duluth News Tribune showed there on Tuesday, a cousin snuck away during the 40 minutes that Tomassoni spent discussing how he utilizes technology to communicate.
He said, “This is an Eyegaze computer.” I then click on the letters and numbers after looking at them.
Tomassoni is no longer able to move. He said that he utilizes a feeding tube and can nod “yes” and “no.” He held still for the entire interview with his large hands. He may be lofty in his chair and wear leather slippers, but it’s clear that his posture has declined.
In order to construct sentences, give replies, and maintain conversation, he chooses words and phrases using his eyes and verifies them with a foot pedal. He begs for your understanding as he answers.
Tomassoni stated, “But people prefer to ask two questions at once, so addressing them is challenging.
Tomassoni recorded his voice in August of last year, so when he’s ready to speak, the automated voice uses his recorded voice to elicit his thoughts.
In reference to his response to live broadcast of the proceedings, Tomassoni claimed that “Trump incited the mob.” “I tweeted that this had to end now or be halted during the riot.”
The conversation then turned to St. Paul, where the Minnesota Legislature had work planned for billions in tax cuts, project expenditure, and program financing before it adjourned in May.
Tomassoni stated, “I want the special session very much. “It would be a pity if we didn’t go back and pass the measures that were agreed to; they were as important as ever. And I will take part in it, of course.
Tomassoni makes an effort to keep moving. At the 50th anniversary open house for the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Museum in Eveleth, where Tomassoni is still a board member, he recently made an appearance.
Executive director of the hall Doug Palazzari stated, “He gave us a resignation and we rejected it. He attended the open house and lingered there. He took great pleasure in it. His outlook is excellent.
Every time Tomassoni’s name is spoken these days, it is said again. It is noted by the local county board members. His buddies and other politicians have rejoiced over it.
When questioned about his heroic and public battle with the illness, Tomassoni responded, “Sitting back and doing nothing isn’t an option for me. I don’t know any other way to accomplish things.
He claimed that without his children supporting him at every turn, he would not be able to complete the task. Dante Tomassoni, a 40-year-old son who assisted in setting up the interview, said his father likes company. Tomassoni himself made light of not caring about drop-in visitors.
It’s okay, he responded, “I’m not going away.”
He started crying over several subjects that were challenging.
He started by mentioning vulnerability and said, “This is a particularly harsh sickness for families. Since ALS affects the ability to manage one’s emotions, a portion of the problem is emotional.
“Thanks for supporting me all these years,” Tomassoni stated in reference to his people. Serving the greatest constituents anybody could wish for has been a privilege.
When asked about living a rich life, Tomassoni gave his response while surrounded by family photos and keepsakes from his time playing hockey and serving in politics.
For me, it is day to day, he declared. And I sincerely hope that I have improved people’s lives in some little way.