Kirk hasn’t been back to the U.S. Senate since suffering a stroke earlier this year.
Republican from Illinois had only been seen in videos while recovering from a stroke suffered last January.
Federal lawmakers from several states along the Mississippi River are pressing to modernize the waterway’s locks-and-dams system, which they say desperately needs repair.
In the greeting, Kirk says he wished he could be there, calling it an exciting moment and “one of the most important elections we’ve ever had.”
“I want to thank everyone especially for the patience they have given me to recover from a big stroke,” said Kirk.
Kirk’s office released the statement Thursday saying the Illinois Republican has recovered to the point where he can move home with his family.
The photo, taken April 19, shows Kirk talking with visiting staff members at the center.
“It has been determined that the damage was not of such severity and magnitude as to be beyond the capabilities of the State.”
The 52-year-old Republican was in good health when he had a stroke last month.
Neurosurgeon Richard Fessler says Kirk is alert, talking and responding well to questions.