Penny Pritzker resigns from Board of Ed, prompts rumors of Obama - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Penny Pritzker resigns from Board of Ed, prompts rumors of Obama post

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Penny Pritzker, left, with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, center, and President Barack Obama, right, at a May 20, 2009 meeting of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board (Penny-Pritzker.com) Penny Pritzker, left, with former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, center, and President Barack Obama, right, at a May 20, 2009 meeting of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board (Penny-Pritzker.com)
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Penny Pritzker resigned from the Chicago Board of Education Thursday, prompting rumors of an appointment to President Obama's cabinet as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Pritzker is a leading candidate to be the next U.S. Commerce Secretary. She is a longtime ally of President Barack Obama and was a top fundraiser during his 2008 and 2012 campaigns.

Pritzker sent a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel informing him of her resignation, and thanking him for the opportunity to serve the city's schools, its students and community for the last two years.

"Education is critical to ensuring every child has an opportunity to succeed, and I wholeheartedly support the work that you are doing to improve Chicago schools," she wrote in the letter, where she did not mention the cabinet post or give a reason for her resignation.

Emanuel called Pritzker a champion for Chicago students and thanked her for her "tireless service" to the city's schools.

"A native Chicagoan, Penny has demonstrated an incredible commitment to making her hometown and our city a place where every child can thrive and reach their full potential," Emanuel said in a statement.

She is an heir of the Pritzker family that founded the Hyatt chain of hotels.

The Chicago Sun-Times said that campaign fundraisers are often appointed to the commerce secretary post as a reward. They also reported that former Chicago mayor Richard Daley's brother, William Daley, served in the commerce post during President Bill Clinton's second term.

A source told the Chicago Tribune that she may be in the process of being vetted for the commerce secretary position. But this has not been confirmed by FOX 32 News. In order to attain the federal post, the candidate would have to relinquish any other government roles.

The Chicago Teachers Union released a statement upon learning Priztker had resigned, saying in part, that Pritzker "has supported policies that have had an adverse impact on working-class families and their children. As a member of the Board of Education she has worked to close schools, destabilize neighborhoods and disrupt the economic lives of thousands of public school employees."

"We cannot imagine that someone who has a long history of bludgeoning Chicago's working families and destroying public schools would be given a platform to continue these sorts of business practices on a national level," CTU President Karen Lewis added.

IThe Associated Press contributed to this report.

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