Details of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis’ health remained under wraps Wednesday, with a campaign staffer declining to comment on her condition.
Lewis, 61, was hospitalized Sunday after she said she didn’t feel well, according to the Chicago Teachers Union. In a tweet Wednesday night, the CTU said a press conference was planned for 4 p.m. Thursday at the union’s office to provide information on Lewis’ hospitalization.
Emma Tai, spokeswoman for Lewis’ mayoral exploratory committee, declined to comment on Lewis’ health, citing medical privacy.
A hospital spokeswoman did not return a message asking about Lewis’ condition. No patient named Karen Lewis — or her maiden name Karen Jennings — could be located at Northwestern, according to the hospital’s patient information line.
Gov. Pat Quinn spoke with Lewis on Wednesday by telephone, according to campaign spokeswoman Izabela Miltko.
“She was more concerned about him and stopping Rauner!” Miltko said.
On Tuesday, CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said Lewis was “not well” but “under great medical care and evaluation.” On Wednesday, CTU vice president Jesse Sharkey did not respond to numerous calls, emails and text messages. Neither did Gadlin, whom staffers said was out of the office dealing with a personal matter.
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.
After suffering a fall earlier this year, Lewis had weight-loss surgery that dramatically changed her appearance.
She is currently 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, her health 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.