Rev. Jesse Jackson said on a Chicago morning television show that his son, U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr., is “slowly regaining his strength. He is under medical supervision; he is taking his time in recovery.” However, the famed political leader would not specify just what ails the congressman. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been on a medical leave of absence since June 10 for exhaustion. No further details were released about the congressman’s condition until July 5, when his staff revealed that he is now in an “inpatient medical facility.” The announcement added that the congressman’s condition is “more serious” than had been previously admitted.

Fellow Democrat, Senator Dick Durbin said on July 9 that the ailing congressman must come clean about his condition that has prevented him from serving in the House of Representatives. “As a public official, there comes a point when you have a responsibility to tell the public what's going on," Senator Durbin said at an event in Chicago. "If there is some medical necessity for him not to say more at this moment than I will defer to that. But he will have to soon make a report on what he's struggling with." So far, Senator Durbin – who serves as Senate Majority Whip – has made the strongest statement yet on Jackson’s condition.  Republicans and independents running for Jackson’s 2nd Congressional District seat have publicly called for Jackson to release more information.

"If I didn't show up for work for 15 days, there's a good chance that when I did try to make a call in, somebody's going to say, 'Yeah, we thought you were done. We went ahead and replaced you,'" Republican Brian Woodworth told a Chicago television interviewer. "So I think he had an obligation to report whatever he's going through earlier."

Senator Durbin, as have Jackson’s opponents, compared the ailing congressman’s silence to the open-ness displayed by Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, who earlier this year gave the public a look via Web video into his difficult recovery from an ischemic stroke.

Since the November 6 federal election is now less than 180 days away, observers say that it is too late to hold a special election. Should Jackson resign as late as 15 days before the election, however, he can be replaced on the ballot. Candidates would be selected by the 2nd District’s Democratic Party county chairmen. Each chairman would have a number of votes equal to the votes cast by his county in the primary. Any new candidate selected would run in a special election and would not take office until January when the new Congress convenes. Jackson could resign as a candidate but serve out his term as Representative. Jackson’s wife, Sandi Jackson – who serves as alderman of the 7th Ward in Chicago would be a natural choice for the Democrats.



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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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