representative jesse jackson, jr.of illinois resigned from congress wednesday, citing health problems. jackson's resignation - just two weeks after voters re-elected him to a ninth term - comes amid a house ethics committee investigation into his dealings with imprisoned former illinois governor rod blagojevich & reports of a new federal probe into possible misuse of campaign money.
in his resignation letter to house speaker john boehner, jackson wrote, "i am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities & i am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigaters, accept responsibility for my mistakes...they are my mistakes & mine alone. the constituents of the 2nd district deserve a full-time legislator in washington, something i cannot be for the forseeable future. my health issues & treatment regimen have become incompatible with the house of representatives."
jackson, 47, mysteriously disappeared in june, but it was later revealed he was being treated at the mayo clinic for bipolar disorder & gastrointestinal issues. rumors about potential alcoholism were neither confirmed nor denied. he returned to his washington home in september & went back to the clinic with his father, rev. jesse jackson, who said his son had not yet "regained his balance."
even though his only communication with voters was a robocall asking for patience, jackson handily defeated two challengers november 6. he spent election night at the mayo clinic but later issued a statement thanking his supporters & saying he was waiting for the doctors' ok before he could "continue to be the progressive fighter" they'd known for years. he left the clinic a second time earlier this month yet has not spoken publicly since.
jackson took office in 1995 after winning a special election. voters in the district have said jackson's family name & attention to local issues have been the primary reasons for their unequivocal support. as such, he has easily won every re-election since then & brought home close to $1 billion in federal money for his district during his popular tenure.
he began his career in washington with a magnetism which set him apart from his hundreds of house colleagues. but his shocking resignation ends a once-promising political career tarnished by allegations he was involved in discussions about raising campaign funds for, then, governor rod blagojevich in exchange for an appointment to president barack obama's vacated u.s. senate seat.
the house ethics committee is investigating reports of those allegations, which jackson denies. after the allegations surfaced, jackson cut back on public appearances & interviews. blagojevich is now in federal prison after being convicted of trying to sell the seat, among other things. the timing of jackon's leave in june & the way it was handled invited scrutiny - it was announced just after a former fundraiser connected to blagojevich's allegations was arrested on unrelated medical fraud charges.
illinois governor pat quinn, a democrat, has five days to schedule an election to replace jackson after he receives official notice. the election must be held within 115 days, according to election officials. the vacancy left by jackson's departure creates a rare opportunity for someone new to represent his heavily democratic district, which is made up of south side chicago neighborhoods, several southern suburbs & some rural areas.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.