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Senate strong despite absence of 2 senators

Heather Spicer
By Anthony D. Ávila
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
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Two student senators who were hospitalized last week could be out of office for the rest of the month, but work will continue despite their absences, student officials said.

Associated Students of the University of Arizona Sen. Heather Spicer was admitted Wednesday evening to Tucson Medical Center for a deep vein thrombosis, a type of blood clot, in her right arm, said Spicer, a communication junior.

A day earlier, Sen. Matt Loehman, a pre-business junior, began surgery for spinal stenosis, a condition that limits blood circulation in the limbs, for which he will be on leave for several months.

Erin Hertzog, ASUA executive vice president, said Spicer's and Loehman's absences are impacting the senate, but she is confident all the senators will cooperate to make up any work.

"It'd be ignorant to say it doesn't affect the senate because it does. But (not) to a point that it's detrimental," said Hertzog, a journalism junior. "Those senators are so strong, they have their heads in the right direction."

Sen. Alex Dong said he noticed the absences most at Wednesday's senate meeting, when only seven of 10 senators were present.

The uneven attendance could have swayed the vote of three resolutions that passed, said Dong, a senior majoring in molecular and cellular biology.

"One senator being gone can affect the whole senate meeting and the dialogue that's expressed there," he said.

But all the senators are hoping for Spicer's and Loehman's return, Dong said.

After being released Friday, Spicer went home to Scottsdale, but returned to Tucson yesterday with her mother and said she expected to attend classes today.

Spicer said she will be taking medication to break up the clot, which could take several months. She will resume some of her senatorial duties in the meantime, but it could take a month before she is fully active, she said.

The other senators have been supportive of Spicer, she said, which gives her confidence that things will work out.

"They're talented, and they've been able to pick up the slack," Spicer said. "They've been helping me out."

Loehman, meanwhile, has been recovering from his surgery more quickly than expected, and doctors said he could be walking in two weeks, said Sen. Rhonda Tubbs, who visited Loehman in the hospital twice last week.

Tubbs, a business economics junior, said though Loehman can't talk because of a breathing tube, he doesn't have any of the pain doctors expected.

If Loehman recovers as quickly as doctors hope, he could return to school and the senate months before originally expected, though he would need assistance getting around, Tubbs said.

Though Tubbs said she is busier after temporarily taking over Loehman's committee duties, it's something she would do as a friend anyway.

"It's been tough on me personally because Matt is one of my best friends," Tubbs said. "But we've been moving forward, especially now since we know he's doing well."

Sen. Ryan Erickson said though the senators sometimes collaborate, they usually work individually and will continue to persevere during this time.

"The first thing Heather said to me when I saw her was, 'What happened at the senate meeting?'" said Erickson, a public administration junior. "It's difficult to be down about the situation when they're so positive."

- Nick Smith contributed to this report.

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