CHICAGO
03/14/2013 05:36 pm ET

Penny Pritzker Resigns Abruptly From Chicago School Board Amid Commerce Secretary Rumors

Rumored U.S. Commerce Secretary candidate Penny Pritzker on Thursday stoked the flames of those reports when she resigned abruptly from the Chicago Board of Education.

Pritzker announced that she was exiting the board, effective immediately, via a brief resignation letter addressed to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Tribune reports.

"I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the City of Chicago, its children and families, during these last two years," Pritzker wrote. "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."

In a statement, Emanuel described Pritzker as "a true leader in her every business, civic and philanthropic endeavor," the Associated Press reports.

Pritzker's resignation letter did not nod to widespread reports that the billionaire, a top-dollar Obama campaign fundraiser in both 2008 and 2012 and charter school advocate, is considered to be a leading candidate to become the next U.S. Commerce Secretary. Were she to be appointed to the Cabinet position, she would be required to vacate any additional governmental roles.

HuffPost previously reported that the possible appointment of Pritzker, daughter of Donald Pritzker, the co-founder of the international Hyatt Hotels chain, was already attracting the attention of the core progressive constituency of unions and labor activists last month.

On Thursday, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis said in a statement that Pritzker "has a long and storied history as being an anti-labor, anti-worker kind of boss. She has supported policies that have had an adverse impact on working-class families and their children."

"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," Lewis continued.

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