labor Karen Lewis Has Brain Tumor, Not Running for Mayor
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is hugged by a supporter outside Chicago Board of Education headquarters last year. ,|Rich Hein/Sun-Times
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who just pulled out of mayoral contention, is suffering from a cancerous brain tumor that was diagnosed shortly after she experienced a severe headache last week.
As a result, Lewis underwent a five-hour surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she is scheduled to undergo a regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, according to a source close to Lewis.
The tumor had nothing to do with her weight loss surgery in Mexico.
Lewis has wanted Mayor Rahm Emanuel gone practically since he took office, but she will not be the one to unseat him in February, the head of her mayoral exploratory committee said Monday.
The feisty 61-year-old CTU leader will not run for mayor, Jay Travis, the head of her mayoral exploratory committee said in a statement Monday.
“Karen Lewis has decided to not pursue a mayoral bid,” Travis said. “Yet she charges us to continue fighting for strong neighborhood schools, safe communities and good jobs for everyone.
“The tens of thousands of signatures collected for Karen confirm what the polls have already said: Chicagoans from Beverly to Uptown want to feel safe in their neighborhoods; they want an elected representative school board; and they want political leadership at every level that is responsive and responsible.”
Emanuel issued a statement, saying he would keep Lewis in his prayers.
“I have always respected and admired Karen’s willingness to step up and be part of the conversation about our city’s future, but nothing is more important than a person’s health,” the mayor said. “Along with all Chicagoans, I will keep Karen and her family in our thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to seeing her on her feet very soon.”