Jesse Jackson Jr., representative of Illinois’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, resigned from office on Wednesday. Here are the top 10 facts you need to know about the politician’s resignation.
1. Jesse Jackson Jr. is an American Politician
Jesse Jackson Jr. is is an American politician who represented Illinois’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. A member of the Democratic party, he was first elected in a special election in 1995. Prior to politics, Jackson was very active in civil rights activism.
2. He is the Son of One of the Most Prominent Black Men in the United States
Jesse Jackson Jr. is the son of Jesse Jackson Sr., an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister who was a Democratic presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U.S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997.
3. He Resigned Because of Mental Illness
47-year-old Jackson has been treated with bipolar disorder and blames his deteriorating health for his reason of leaving.
“For 17 years I have given 100 percent of my time, energy and life to public service,” Mr. Jackson, a Democrat, wrote in a letter to Speaker John A. Boehner. “However, over the past several months, as my health has deteriorated, my ability to serve the constituents of my district has continued to diminish. Against the recommendations of my doctors, I had hoped and tried to return to Washington and continue working on the issues that matter most to the people of the Second District. I know now that will not be possible.”
4. He was Expected to Outshine his Father
When Jackson was elected into Congress, the sky was the limit for him. Some thought he might one day become the first black president, the position his father sought after.
5. In Recent Years, Jackson’s Name Became Linked to Political Corruption and Scandal
Expectation lowered after Jackson’s name became connected to a scandal involving Rod R. Blagojevich and his impeachment from the position of Governor of Illinois for making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
6. He was Just Re-Elected to Another Two-Year Term
Jackson’s decision to step down came just over two weeks after he was re-elected for another two-year term.
7. Some People are Annoyed he didn’t Resign Before his Election
Some were a little annoyed that Jackson didn’t step down before he got re-elected just 15 days prior. Because of his resignation, there is now a need for a special election to replace him.
8. Colleagues are Sad, but Not Surprised
Jackson’s departure did not surprise his colleagues because he disappeared from the public eye in June, seeking medical treatment in Minnesota and Arizona. Some leaders, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had already addressed publicly that Jackson needed to address his constituents.
9. A Seat is Open
Of course, the next question is “Who will fill the seat?” Over a dozen contenders will most likely be up for the position in special elections early next year. State law gives Gov. Pat Quinn five days to set dates for primary and general election, which much be held by mid-March.
10. Jackson Might Return
“Once the doctors approve my return to work, I will continue to be the progressive fighter you have known for years,” his statement read. “My family and I are grateful for your many heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts. I continue to feel better every day and look forward to serving you.”