CHICAGO (CBS) – Popular support for former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has never really wavered, despite the ongoing health and legal problems that led to his resignation on Wednesday.
In his resignation letter, Jackson cited a number accomplishments for his constituents, including funding for new train stations, water towers, emergency rooms, affordable housing, and other infrastructure.
He also touted his work on a proposed third major Chicago area airport for the southern suburbs.
CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov broke the news of Jackson’s resignation to a lot of his former constituents in the 2nd Congressional District. The reaction was decidedly mixed.
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“I’m shocked,” one woman said.
That was a typical reaction from many 2nd Congressional District residents today, after hearing Jackson had resigned Wednesday afternoon.
“Wow, that’s funny. I’m not aware of that, but I actually said that this morning. I said he might as well just give up now,” Re Webb said.
Not all were surprised, however.
Sheila Johnson said, “It’s not something that I wasn’t expecting. … I think he should have been done a long time ago.”
Second District resident Kenneth Jackson, no relation, said he believes Congressman Jackson has done “a fairly decent job” representing the 2nd Congressional District, but due to the his mental health issues, “I think he needs to take some time off to work on those issues, and then maybe try it again later.”
As for speculation that Jackson is stepping down now to protect his pension before a possible plea deal in connection to the federal investigation of his campaign finance activities, Kenneth Jackson said, “I think that’s just a political statement. I think, basically, his emotional and mental problems come first, and then the other side, as far as his trials and tribulations. That’s another matter. I think he’s a great guy.”
Inside the office building Jackson shares with his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), there was not a soul to be seen Wednesday afternoon, and no one answered the buzzers.
After 17 years, his South Shore office will likely remain dark.
“I’m gonna miss him, because I liked him,” one woman said.
“He was like family,” former constituent Carl Jones said. “I knew his father well, so I was just surprised. I feel for his wife and his family.”
Many 2nd Congressional District residents said their attention is now going to turn from what will happen to Jackson to exactly who will replace him on Capitol Hill.