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Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. resigns from office

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., has officially announced his retirement after a 17-year career in the House of Representatives amid a growing mountain of legal troubles, scandals and questions about his emotional capacity to serve his constituents in his native Chicago.

The son of the legendary civil rights leader, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Jackson (D-Chicago) sent his letter of resignation to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Here is the content of Jackson’s letter:

November 21, 2012

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House H-232 The Capitol Washington, DC 20515

Mr. Speaker,


In 1995 when I was first elected to the House of Representatives  I came to Washington with a singular purpose – to serve the constituents of the Second District of Illinois.  During that time for seventeen years I have traveled on a journey with the citizens of the Second District of Illinois, and with their unwavering support we have worked together to transform what was once an underdeveloped and nearly forgotten South Side of Chicago.


Along this journey we have accomplished  much. We have built new train stations,  water towers, and emergency rooms. We have brought affordable housing, community centers and healthcare  clinics  to  those  who  needed  it  most.    In  all,  nearly  a  billion  dollars  worth  of infrastructure and community improvement has been made on the South Side of Chicago and thousands  of new jobs have been created.  We began this journey  by promising fresh water for the  people  of  Ford  Heights  and  a  new  airport  that  would  employ  upon  completion  300,000 people.  Today the people of Ford Heights have fresh water and sitting on the Governor’s desk is 400,000,000 dollar proposal for an airport that will cost the taxpayers  nothing and only awaits the Governor’s commitment  to build it. And while our journey  to strengthen  our communities and provide a better future for our children will continue, I know that together we have made the Second District of Illinois a better place.


For seventeen  years  I have  given  100  percent  of  my time,  energy,  and  life  to public service.   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.


The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something  I cannot be for the foreseeable  future.  My health issues and treatment  regimen have become incompatible  with service in the House of Representatives.  Therefore,  it is with great regret that I hereby resign as a member of the United States House of Representatives,  effective today, in order to focus on restoring my health.


During this journey I have made my share of mistakes. 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,  for  they  are  my mistakes and mine alone. None of us is immune from our share of shortcomings or human frailties and I pray that I will be remembered for what I did right. It has been a profound honor to serve the constituents of Illinois’s Second Congressional District and I thank them for their patience, words of support and prayers during what has been, and what will continue to be a very trying time for me and my family.


I also thank my colleagues and staff for supporting me and the citizens of my district over the past several months.  I am proud to have worked alongside each of them over these many years.   I know that our work and accomplishments will have a lasting positive impact on our community and our nation.



With optimism and hope I look forward to the day when my treatment is complete and my health improves.   I will truly miss serving as a Member of Congress and I will never be able to fully express my gratitude to the people of Chicago, and her Southland for granting me the opportunity to serve them for 17 wonderful years.



Jesse Jackson, Jr. Member of Congress