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Arizona State Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman, gets a standing ovation while speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives prior to Gov. Jan Brewer's State of the State address at the Arizona Capitol Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, in Phoenix. The Republican representative suffered a stroke last year. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX -- Arizona state lawmakers are returning to the state capitol this week to deal with the challenges facing the state, but one state lawmaker is overcoming her own challenges while she gets back on the job.

Doris Goodale, 64, is a Republican state representative from Kingman, who is the chair of the House Education Committee.

She suffered a major crisis last September.

"I had a stroke on September 29th," Goodale said. "It was due to a blocked carotid artery and a high cholesterol level."

Not to mention stress.

In addition to a pressure-packed legislative session, her husband of 38 years passed away. The Phoenix New Times also reported that in 2012, Kingman police arrested her son and daughter for heroin trafficking.

Goodale said she is working hard to recover.

"I am attending physical, occupational and speech therapy three times a week and just fighting hard to get back," said Goodale.

Goodale used to drive herself to Phoenix for the legislative session, but now she'll rely on family members to bring her. She vowed that the condition won't cause her to miss any votes.

"I'm looking forward to this," Goodale said. "I'm working on a drug prescription bill that I think is very important to our state."

That bill would require doctors to asses a patient's addiction risk before writing a prescription for certain drugs.

"I'm a hard charger. I don't just sit back. I keep going," she said.

Goodale said she is getting a lot of help from a photograph of Todd Graham, head football coach at Arizona State University. Before the stroke, Graham posed for a picture with her and wrote, "Be determined and stick with it." Her sister brought that picture to the hospital and it serves as inspiration for her.

Not only is Goodale heading back to the legislature this year, but she also plans to run for re-election.

"I am very honored being a state representative. I love Arizona, and I am very honored to help Arizona," she said.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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