In a move that marks the end of a Chicago political dynasty, Ald. Sandi Jackson resigned on Friday, less than two months after her husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., stepped down from his long-time congressional seat.
Alderman Jackson, who has been representing the 7th Ward on the South Side since 2007, sent a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel just after 3 p.m. Friday saying “with a heavy heart” she is planning to step down on Tuesday.
“[I] am unapologetically a wife and a mother and I cannot deny my commitment to those most important personal responsibilities,” Ald. Jackson said in her resignation letter, released by the mayor’s office. “To that end, after much consideration and while dealing with very painful family health matters I have met with my family and determined that the constituents of the 7th Ward, as well as you Mr. Mayor, and my colleagues in the City Council deserve a partner who can commit all of their energies to the business of the people.”
Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned his U.S. House seat the day before Thanksgiving, citing ongoing health issues and a federal investigation.
Representative Jackson had been gone from Capitol Hill for six months as he was treated for bipolar disorder. During his absence, news came out that the congressman was the target of a federal probe, reportedly relating to spending from his campaign accounts.
Subsequent news reports, citing unnamed sources, said Ald. Jackson was part of the investigation as well. The alderman didn’t mention the legal troubles in her resignation letter. Just last month, Jackson told reporters she had no plans to resign, despite the firestorm surrounding her family.
“My constituents are people who depend on me to be there for them and I will continue to work hard on their behalf,” Ald. Jackson said in December. “I intend to finish my term."
It’s unclear who will replace Jackson in the City Council. The deadline to hold a special election for her seat has passed, and it seems likely the mayor will appoint someone to finish out her term.
But in a statement Friday, Emanuel said he wouldn’t announce plans for Jackson’s succession until early next week.
“As Sandi takes this time to focus on her family, we give her our deepest thanks and support for her service to our City and the residents of her ward,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Her leadership has been greatly appreciated in the Chicago City Council.”