Updated 10/03/12 – 5:14 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who has been out of the public eye for three months while being treated for mental health problems, said she is not sure the congressman will return to the public eye before the November election.
“I hope he’ll be able,” Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) said Wednesday at City Hall during a City Council meeting. “I know he’s eager to do so. But he’s also under doctor’s orders to stay very calm, very quiet, and he’s going to do that.”
Congressman Jackson took a leave of absence in June. Several weeks later, doctors said Jackson was being treated for bi-polar disorder. His wife said Tuesday that she doesn’t know if he’ll be able to return to work or hit the campaign trail before the upcoming election.
“We’re completely reliant on what the doctors say with respect to the appropriate time for his return,” she said. “He is on the ballot, he’s going to stay on the ballot, and I’m looking forward to him coming back to work after his reelection.”
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports
She also pledged that her husband would not pull out of the election at the last minute, so that Democratic leaders could replace him on the ballot with a preferred candidate.
“No last-minute switcheroos. He would never do that, and I would never want that for him. I strongly believe in the democratic process,” she said.
If re-elected, the only way Jackson could be replaced in Congress, if he were to step down after the election, would be to hold a special election for his seat.
Jackson asked her husband’s constituents to be patient, and send prayers his way.
Several people in Jackson’s 2nd Congressional District said Wednesday that he has their prayers, but he might not have their votes.
Told the congressman might not make a public appearance until after the November election, Randolph Jenkins said, “He needs to come out here, because we voted for him. He need him to show himself up for us, and be a power for us, because that’s why we put him in office. Now, if you don’t show up, how can we vote for you again?”
Mario Christen said, “If you’re severely depressed to the point where you can’t appear in public, then you shouldn’t be in office. I mean, I like Jesse Jackson Jr., but I’m just being for real about it.”
Jackson’s republican opponent, Brian Woodworth, said voters are being cheated out of a chance to ask important questions like “Where are the jobs,” and “Where are the opportunities” for the district.
The congressman has been on leave for 116 days, and has missed 225 House roll call votes.
Sandi Jackson said her husband has had a great career as a congressman.
“He takes it very seriously. We know there’s a lot of work yet to be done,” she said.
She also talked about struggles of families to find work and put food on the table.
“He’s acutely aware of that and wants to get back out and do what he can,” she said. “I would encourage his constituents to pray for him and for our family.”
“He wants to get back out there and when he is able to do so, he will,” she added.
She said her family needs to sell their Washington, D.C. house to pay for her husband’s medical bills. It is not publicly listed because people were coming by to look at it and scaring her kids, she said.
She said Jackson’s treatment is not covered by his congressional health insurance.
“I think most Americans would say when it comes to mental health, most plans do not cover it,” she said.