CHICAGO – The wife of former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. announced Friday that she was resigning from the Chicago City Council, saying she could not adequately represent her district while dealing with "very painful health matters."
Alderman Sandi Jackson, whose husband recently resigned from Congress while being treated for bipolar disorder and other medical issues, said in a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel that her resignation would be effective Tuesday.
"I am unapologetically a wife and a mother and I cannot deny my commitment to those most important personal responsibilities," she wrote. Aside from citing health matters, she did not elaborate.
Her husband announced his resignation in November shortly after winning re-election, citing his health concerns but also acknowledging that he was under federal investigation. The Chicago Democrat and son of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson stepped down amid a months-long medical leave that included two stays at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
His wife had said as recently as last month that she planned to serve out her city council term "unless something catastrophic happens." She was first elected in 2007.
Her husband – once a rising star in local politics whose name was mentioned as a viable candidate for Chicago mayor – became ensnared in the corruption probe that led to the resignation and federal conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Jackson was never charged, but investigators suggested he may have been involved in discussions about raising money for the then-governor in exchange for President Barack Obama's former U.S. Senate seat.
Jackson denied any wrongdoing. But those suspicions, along with revelations that he had had an extramarital affair, derailed any aspirations for higher political office.
Sandi Jackson has worked with the Democratic Party for nearly two decades, including as the Democratic National Committee's deputy director of training. She also worked for Bill Clinton's and Michael Dukakis' presidential campaigns.
She has rarely been seen in public since her husband quietly went on medical leave over the summer. She also has missed several City Council meetings.
A telephone number for an office once shared by the couple was disconnected Friday. A cellphone number for Sandi Jackson also had been disconnected.
When reached for comment, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said he did not know anything about his daughter-in-law's resignation and declined comment.