Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus expresses disappointment in Jackson’s resignation
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II
Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
By Frederick H. Lowe
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a statement that he was disappointed U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., resigned from Congress, but Cleaver said he respected Jackson’s decision to focus on his health and family.
“While I am deeply saddened at the news of my dear friend and colleague, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s, resignation, I respect his decision to focus on his health and on his family, which undoubtedly come first. Rep. Jackson Jr. has been an esteemed member of Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus and will depart with a rich legacy in place. His presence and contributions to this body will be missed.”
Jackson, who has represented the Illinois 2nd Congressional District, mostly on Chicago’s South Side since 1995, resigned on Wednesday, citing his continuing health problems in a two-page letter to Speaker of the House John A. Boehner.
Jackson, the oldest son of Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., has been admitted twice to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for treatment of a bipolar II disorder, a mood ailment that affects part of the brain that control emotion thought and drive. Physicians also treated him at the Sierra Tucson Treatment Center in Tucson, Ariz.
The 47-year-old Jackson took a leave of absence on June 10, but his congressional office staff did not disclose that he had left until two weeks later. Despite his absence from the halls of Congress and his congressional district, Jackson easily won re-election to a 17th term in Congress.
In his letter to Speaker Boehner, Jackson alluded to a federal investigation into some of his activities.
“I am aware of the ongoing federal investigation into my activities and I am doing my best to address the situation responsibly, cooperate with the investigators, and accept responsibility for my mistakes, for they are my mistakes and mine alone,” Jackson said. “None of us is immune from our share of human frailties, and I pray I will be remembered for what I did right.”
The Federal government is reportedly investigating Jackson for spending campaign funds to remodel his Washington, D.C., home. Since his resignation, Jackson has not been seen in public. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn set a date for a special primary election in the 2nd District of February 26, 2013. The general election is scheduled for March 19, 2013.
Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jackson in the March primary, said she will run for his seat.
Also Chicago Pastor Corey Brooks said he is considering running for the seat. Brooks received national attention when he lived on roof of an abandoned building across from his church to publicize murders of young Black men.
Cleaver said Jackson fought for the people of Illinois 2nd Congressional District.
“He has diligently worked to be a better voice in Congress, to improve their quality of life and the communities in which they live,” Cleaver said. “Time and time again, his constituents supported him because he proved his unwavering commitment. No one can deny that Rep. Jackson, Jr., has been one of the greatest advocates of the people he served.”
Cleaver added that Jackson made a difficult decision, but members of the Congressional Black Caucus thank Jackson for his service, and they wish his family well.