South Side Alderman Carrie Austin (34TH) is back at work two days after being taken to the hospital. She participated in a City Council Transportation Committee meeting today virtually.
On Wednesday, December 15, Alderman Carrie Austin (34) was taken to the hospital from the City Council meeting after colleagues noticed her slumped over in her chair.
The Council meeting went into recess after Mayor Lori Lightfoot said there was a “medical emergency” after she was found with her head down and arms folded on the desk around 1 p.m.
She was carried out of the building on a stretcher. One report said Austin appeared to be conscious as she was carried out.
Mayor Lightfoot halted the meeting while an ambulance was called.
The Council meeting resumed at 1:20 p.m. with Alderman Emma Mitts (37th) leading a prayer for Austin’s health.
There were no updates on Austin’s condition by press time Wednesday for the Crusader’s print edition. Lightfoot said she didn’t think it was appropriate for her to comment on the alderman’s condition but said “we wish her Godspeed.”
Austin’s medical emergency came as Lightfoot debated with two aldermen over a procedural issue during the meeting.
Lightfoot praised aldermen for immediately putting aside their differences to tend to Austin when she fell ill.
“I think sometimes there’s too much attention paid to the gamesmanship and politics and the back-and-forth.
“I know that makes for interesting articles in the media, but I think what you saw today was an outpouring of our humanity.
“People rallied immediately, every single alderman was there, was concerned. And Alderman Austin’s been through a lot,” Lightfoot said. “I wish her Godspeed, but I think really it spoke to the humanity that we can never lose, even as public officials, even as we’re going through challenging issues and contentious issues at times.
“We can have our passion, but we can never lose our humanity.”
Sources told the Crusader in July that Austin had plans to step down after the holidays. After Alderman Ed Burke (14th Ward), Austin is the second-longest serving member of the City Council. She was hospitalized with COVID-19 last year and reportedly had a torn artery repaired during surgery five years ago.
Austin succeeded her husband, Alderman Lemuel Austin, in 1994 after he died while serving the 34th Ward.
Austin is one of three sitting aldermen facing a federal indictment. This year, Austin and her chief of staff were indicted on federal charges after they were accused of taking bribes from a construction company that wanted to build a development in her ward.
She later stepped down as Chair of the City Council Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity.