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Sandi Jackson a month ago: ‘I’m not resigning. I am here.’

Alderman Sandi Jackstalks with mediCity Council meeting Wednesday October 3 2012. l John H. White~Sun-Times

Alderman Sandi Jackson, talks with media at City Council meeting, Wednesday, October 3, 2012. l John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 13, 2013 11:07AM



Returning to the City Council for the first time since her husband’s resignation, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) said Tuesday she has no plans to run for Congress or resign as alderman and expects to finish out her four-year term unless catastrophe strikes.

Jackson acknowledged that rumors are flying that she plans to step down to focus on her family as her husband, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., continues to simultaneously battle a bi-polar disorder and a federal investigation into his campaign finances.

But Jackson cautioned her constituents and the news media not to pay attention to rumors, adding, “This is not reality TV. This is real life.”

“I’m not resigning. I am here. I’m working. I’m gonna continue to work and whoever these people are who purport to speak for me should stop. I’m asking them, please to stop,” she said.

“If you don’t hear from my office via a press release or from me, then it is not coming from me. I intend to finish my term unless something catastrophic happens. I could step outside and get hit by a bus today. I don’t know.”

Jackson was asked whether “something catastrophic” might include her husband going to jail — either after a conviction or a plea agreement.

“I’m not going to entertain questions like that. I really am not. I am going to concentrate on keeping my husband well. . . . I’m going to concentrate on my two wonderful babies who depend on me and that’s where my mind set’s going to be,” she said. In his resignation letter, Jesse Jackson Jr. acknowledged the federal investigation and said the mistakes made were his alone. His attorneys have said they are attempting to negotiate a plea deal, but it could be months away.

Sandi Jackson did not answer questions about the federal probe into her husband’s campaign finances that has included inquiries about what she knows about the alleged spending irregularities.

But the alderman made no bones about it. She has come through an “exhausting period” that’s been so emotionally wrenching, she found it difficult at times to soldier on.

“It would be hard for any family to go through what we’ve gone through publicly. There may have been times when I was overcome with exhaustion. I was overwhelmed and felt as if I couldn’t take another step. That’s real. And that’s human. A lot of people go through that,” she said.

“I’ve had a lot of people say that to me: ‘Be strong because you’re at the beginning of this journey.’ And I am and I know that. But I honestly have what a lot of people don’t have and that’s support.”

Jackson said she has not yet decided whether to move back to Chicago now that her husband has resigned his seat in Congress. But she pushed back hard against those who consider her an absentee alderman.

“People have personal tragedies. I can’t control when sickness happens. All I can do is respond to it. I don’t think anyone would blame me for trying to be a good wife and trying to be by my husband’s side when he was hospitalized,” Sandi Jackson said.

The alderman claimed she seldom missed a City Council meeting until this year, when she missed plenty, including last month’s vote on the mayor’s budget, the most important vote of the year.

“People know I work hard on their behalf. They know they’ve got security in the 7th Ward — private security — for the first time ever. They know they’ve got private snow removal on our main thoroughfares for the first time ever in the existence of that ward. They know we’ve got landscaping and beautification efforts under way for the first time,” she said.

“They know because I go directly to them. I don’t go to anybody else to get the message out, which is why I own a robo-call machine. I don’t rent it. I intend to get my message to the people.”

Sandi Jackson said she has not decided who to support in the crowded field of candidates vying to replace her husband.

She only knows one thing: She has no plans to join the crowd.



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