CTU President Karen Lewis ‘not well,’ but union mum on details

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Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is “not well” but under top-notch medical care, the union said Tuesday, refusing to detail the health crisis that has landed Lewis in the hospital.

For the second straight day, the CTU was all but mum when pressed for details about Lewis’ condition.

“She’s not well. But she’s under great medical care and evaluation,” CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin wrote.

“But she’s Karen Lewis. She’s in great spirits, joking, thinking about the bigger pictures.”

Pressed to explain what she meant by “not well,” Gadlin said, “Well, she’s not feeling well. That’s why she called her doctor. You are aware she had weight loss surgery. I don’t know what’s the issue. I’m not privvy to my employer’s personal medical records. I have to trust what she’s said. She felt discomfort.”

On Monday, the CTU acknowledged that Lewis was hospitalized after experiencing “discomfort” Sunday evening, denied she had suffered a stroke but offered no further detail about Lewis’ condition.

“We respect Karen’s privacy just as we value her leadership,” Gadlin wrote in a statement.

“I’m sure she’ll determine whether or not another public statement is warranted.”

The statement added, “Karen is a freedom fighter, a nationally recognized education advocate and the people’s champ. She’ll be back on her feet in no time. She is resting well and in good spirits — and still thinking of creative ways to secure the future and city our students and their families deserve.”

RELATED: Karen Lewis’ health scare puts mayoral contest in flux

Lewis had weight loss surgery in March that dramatically changed her appearance after suffering a fall.

After going toe-to-toe with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and leading her members out on Chicago’s first teachers strike in 25 years, she has formed an exploratory committee and is circulating nominating petitions for mayor.

Lewis has been meeting with residents in neighborhoods across the city as part of a “listening tour” that could culminate in a campaign for mayor. She has also lent her campaign $40,000 of her own money and recently got a $30,000 contribution from the American Federation of Teachers that could be a downpayment on a larger, $1 million commitment by the national union to defeat Emanuel.

But she has not yet formally declared her candidacy. And it’s not known what impact, if any, the new health issue could have on her decision.

If she decides to run for mayor, she will have to spell out her health issues in more detail. Voters will demand it.

Emanuel and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who has already formally declared his candidacy, have both issued statements wishing Lewis a speedy recovery.

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