Ex-Rep. Jackson's wife quits Chicago council post, cites family health issues

FILE: March 20, 2012: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. thanks supporters at his election night party in Chicago after his Democratic primary.

FILE: March 20, 2012: Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. thanks supporters at his election night party in Chicago after his Democratic primary.  (AP)

The wife of ex-Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned Friday from her Chicago council post, saying she cannot adequately represent her ward while dealing with "very painful family health matters."

Councilwoman Sandi Jackson’s letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t include specifics, but it follows her husband’s recent resignation from Congress in which he cited mental-health problems and a federal investigation.

The first indication of Jackson’s metal-health problems occurred in June when the 10-term congressman unexpectedly left Capitol Hill. The public learned several weeks later that he had a bipolar disorder and was being treated at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, N.Y.

In Jackson’s resignation letter, he cited health problems and the federal probe.

“As my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish,” the 47-year-old Jackson wrote. “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.”

Jackson, the son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, was easily re-elected in November despite not having appeared in public since summer.

The special primary elections for his 2nd congressional seat will be held February 26. The now-closed field has five Republicans and 17 Democrats. The winner of the Democratic primary will likely win the April 9 special general election, considering the district is heavily Democratic.

Among the candidates are former, one-term Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who lost to Jackson in last year’s primary, and Republican Lenny McAllister, a black conservative TV and radio commentator.

“People understand that there can actually be a moderate Republican that can talk to black America, but can also feel comfortable on Capitol Hill,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The federal investigation is purportedly focusing on whether Jackson misused campaign money.

In addition, the House Ethics Committee has been looking into whether Jackson was involved in discussions about raising money for imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for an appointment to President Obama's vacated Senate seat.

Jackson’s resignation would effectively end the House probe, though members will issue a final report.

Sandi Jackson said she values the public trust that comes with being an alderman but suggested the need to devote herself to her husband and their children.

Jackson called her election in 2007 as alderman of the city's 7th ward a "profound honor."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.