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Ald. Carrie Austin Thanks City Council, Mayor For Support After Her Collapse At December Meeting

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than a month after she collapsed during a City Council meeting in December, Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) was back in the council chamber at City Hall on Wednesday, and thanked her fellow aldermen and Mayor Lori Lightfoot for rushing to her side after she suffered "heart problems" in December.

"I wanted to thank all of my colleagues for their love and tender care," Austin said at Wednesday's council meeting.

Austin slumped over in her chair during the last City Council meeting on Dec. 15, prompting Lightfoot to call a brief recess for a "medical emergency." The mayor and other members of the City Council rushed to Austin's side as staffers called for an ambulance.

On Wednesday, Austin thanked her colleagues on the council for their help, particularly thanking Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st), a former firefighter who helped treat her while an ambulance was on its way, as well as Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th) and Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th), who were among the first to come to her aid.

"Most may not know this, but I'm grateful, because of all of those that assisted last month I'm here today. I can say that I did not have a heart attack, but I did have some heart problems. But I'm grateful for all of the love that I've received from my colleagues to give me their love and to protect me," Austin said as her colleagues gave her a standing ovation. "Because of you, I stand here. Because of your faith, I stand here today as well. Thank you all so very much, and God bless each and every one of you,"

Austin, the second-longest serving member of the City Council, has had a string of medical problems in recent years. She was hospitalized last year with COVID-19. Five years ago, she had surgery to repair a torn aorta.

Her late husband, Lemuel Austin, was her predecessor as alderman of the 34th ward, and died in office in 1994.

She is one of three sitting aldermen facing a federal indictment. Austin and her chief of staff were indicted earlier this year on federal charges accusing them of taking bribes from a construction company seeking Austin's support for a development in her ward. She later resigned her post as chair of the City Council Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity, at Mayor Lightfoot's request.

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