Punching back at Parkinson’s

Ninety minutes each day, Sun Prairie District 4 Alder Al Guyant goes through a regimen of mental and physical exercises to combat Parkinson’s Disease. Working out with a punching bag prevents torso stiffness a common symptom of PD.

Incumbent District 4 Alder Al Guyant has dropped out of a contested race for his seat, citing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Guyant announced over the weekend that he has dropped his bid for re-election to the City Council because “I discovered my opponent Faustina Bohling will become a better alder than I have been, and because I still haven’t been able to manage the symptoms of my Parkinson’s Disease.”

“When I filed my candidacy papers in early December, I had fully intended to campaign hard for re-election and serve the next two years, which probably would have been my last term,” Guyant said in a press release emailed to the Sun Prairie Star.

“However, when I reached out to my challenger, Faustina Bohling, I discovered that she is an exceptional person who would make a great alder. She has powerful intellect, excellent values, strong determination, and a commitment to sound fiscal policies,” Guyant said. “Plus, she is supportive of Community Schools and the Neighborhood Navigators program.”

Guyant said that he became so impressed with Bohling that “I found myself wanting to vote for her.”

Guyant said last weekend when he had some balance difficulties at home, “I realized that it was time to pass the baton to the next generation.”

Last August, the Sun Prairie Star featured Guyant’s battle with the disease in a story that described his efforts to become more physically fit in an effort to keep his Parkinson’s Disease progression at bay.

Guyant said it was “a very difficult decision, because so much more needs to be done, and I really enjoy working closely with the mayor, all the alders, and the best staff any city could possibly want.”

Guyant said he “won’t be a lame duck.”

For example, by April 1, Guyant said he will ask to have city departments project how many more staff they may need in the next five years, “and thus we can calculate how many we can and can’t afford – just like we did for debt for capital projects.”

Guyant said he would continue to serve on the executive team of Community Schools — but not as the council representative.

Although he said it isn’t a factor in his decision, Guyant said he was pleased that with Bohling’s probable election to the council, there would be a majority of female alders (5-3), for the first time in Sun Prairie’s history and one of the few or only times for a larger city in Wisconsin.

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