Sen. Hughes announces she has breast cancer

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 11:11

Shelley Hughes, who represents District F in the Alaska State Senate, announced Tuesday she has breast cancer.

“I just learned that I have breast cancer,” the state senator wrote on her personal Facebook page. “I’m going to beat it.”

Hughes posted the status update with a photo of herself ziplining with her son, who she described as looking like “how an artist might envision a Caucasian Jesus.”

“I believe prayer works, and I believe Jesus heals. My son has a great sense of humor and I’m sure was on the verge of saying something funny here as he gave me a pep talk before I took the plunge,” she wrote. “I might need a pep talk every now and then on this cancer-defeating ride but am feeling healthy, strong, upbeat and confident as I stand ready to take this death-defying plunge.”

Hughes, a Palmer Republican, represents a large district that includes Chugiak, Ft. Richardson and the Butte. According to, it’s alaska’s fifth-largest with about 36,000 residents. She was elected in 2016 to replace Bill Stoltze, who retired.

Hughes also posted a Facebook Live video on her Senator Shelley Hughes page, where she talked about a wide variety of subjects and announced the diagnosis to constituents via the social media platform. During her nearly half-hour message, Hughes promised to continue working in Juneau while fighting her diagnosis.

“I am going to battle and conquer breast cancer,” she said.

Hughes was recently in Eagle River for a meeting of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, where she and Reps. Dan Saddler and Cathy Tilton spoke about the state’s ongoing budget debates.

Legislators are expected to return to Juneau Thursday, July 27 to pass a capital budget.

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