What will Change in Chicago with Lori Lightfoot?

What will Change in Chicago with Lori Lightfoot?

Biography of Lori Lightfoot

Lori Elaine Lightfoot is the current mayor of Chicago who is elected by the Chicagoans in the elections 2019. She was born on August 4, 1962, in Ohio. She is the first LGBT and African-American lady who is elected as a mayor of an American state. She is a lawyer and a politician by profession and she served some of the important departments of America as a great leader. She has done a lot of struggle for reaching this position since her childhood. She is an LGBT woman and she does not have any regret to be an LGBT. She has married Amy Eshleman and they have a daughter as well. Lightfoot completed her studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and the University of Chicago.  She started her education form the Washington High School in Massillon. She gained the degree of Bachelor of Political Sciences from the University of Michigan in 1984. She was a working student during his education for fulfilling the fees and residential expenditures. Then, she decided to join the University of Chicago Law School for the sake of getting a good job to fulfill her financial needs.

Achievements of Lori Lightfoot

Lori Lightfoot was the president of the student’s body in the University of Chicago Law School. She worked hard for confronting the racism in this institution. Lightfoot said, “I intended to join the Law School for getting a better job to fulfill my financial needs”. She worked in the Chicago Office of Emergency and Communication Management (OEMC) as a Chief of Staff and General Counsel. She also took the job of President of the Chicago Police Board. She is the former Chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. She also did the job for the Mayor Brown LLP, Senior Equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group, as a lawyer.  Here is the list of public positions held by Lori Lightfoot:

  • Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern Districts of Illinois from 1996 to 2002.
  • Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional standards of Chicago Police from 2002 to 2004.
  • President of Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018.
  • Mayor of Chicago from 2019 to onwards.

She will hold the office of the Mayor of Chicago from May 20, 2019, onwards.

Election Campaign

Lightfoot announced her candidateship in the Mayor’s Elections of Chicago on May 10, 2018. She was an openly lesbian candidate for the mayoral election and it happened for the first time in history that a lesbian and black woman won the mayoral elections of a state of the United States. She led the highest-paid campaign in the Chicago elections to compete with the big guns of Chicago. She had to compete with the names like Rahm Emanuel who was the mayor of Chicago since 2011. The major challenge was Toni Preckwinkle for Lori Lightfoot as they reached the final round of the elections. There were huge rumors about the pressure exerted by Preckwinkle on Lightfoot to drop out of the race. Preckwinkle also challenged the petitions submitted by Lightfoot for getting her name on the ballots. Preckwinkle challenged that the Lightfoot submitted the fraudulent petitions. The Chicago Board of Election Commission gave the decision in the favor of Lightfoot as they did not find anything wrong in the petitions. Lightfoot ran an advertisement on the TV against the mayoral candidates including Chico, Daley, Mendoza, and Preckwinkle. She showed in the advertisement that they supported Ed Burke in his corruptions. Preckwinkle did a wrong mistake during her campaign as her campaign manager posted a post on Facebook in which he compared Lightfoot with a Nazi. Preckwinkle faced a lot of criticism and she apologized for this post and fired his campaign manager. Preckwinkle and Lightfoot made their way for the runoff election as no candidate reached 50% majority in the first round. Lightfoot got the support of the media including Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune who recommended her. She also got the support of the former candidates including Mendoza, Chico, Vallas, and Wilson. US Representative, Jesus Garcia also endorsed Lori Lightfoot in the runoff elections.

Lightfoot faced a lot of criticism from Chancellor Bennett who said that Lightfoot worked against the interests of the black community while working in the Chicago Police Department and as a prosecutor as well. She denied these allegations in a public debate by giving evidence of her encounters with the racism during her life. She got 73% of the votes in the runoff elections, which was a transparent lead, held on April 2, 2019. Lightfoot said after winning the elections, “It is the beginning of a new and improved Chicago”. She got huge appreciation from the gay and lesbian leaders. Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston, said, “It is a historic win for a lesbian lady who will lead the third-largest city of the United States”. She also said that this year might be the year of lesbian mayors.

Criticism on Lightfoot during Election Campaign

She faced huge criticism in the form of #StopLightfoot on social media. She also faced criticism from the Chicago Teachers Union due to her law-enforcement pedigree with public school privatizers. The social activists criticized her by claiming that she showed disrespect to the police-violence victims and their families. Benji Hart, a Chicago-based writer, wrote an article in which he describes, “The black community doesn’t merely predict that the poor community will suffer under Lightfoot”. Hart claimed this on the base of Lightfoot’s record as a Police head where she invested public interests on the police force. #StopLIghtfoot campaign criticized her as an expander of the police force in the city. Preckwinkle criticized Lori Lightfoot by saying, “it was an issue of taking responsibility and leadership” when she was asked about the Westside fire which killed four children in 2004. Lightfoot was the Chief of Staff at the Office of Emergency Management and Communication at that time. Lightfoot called it an act of desperation by Preckwinkle. Preckwinkle ran an ad on the TV on this issue and she refused to pull the ad by saying, “I have no regret of this ad”. She also faced criticism in terms of the black church. 90% of the black churches do not endorse a woman to lead.

Endorsements to Lightfoot

Willie Wilson, the former mayoral candidate, endorsed Lightfoot in the runoff election. He said, “she represented the changes which we needed”. Wilson had a huge support of the black voters in Chicago. She also got an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune during her election campaign. The spokesperson of Chicago Tribune said, “Lightfoot is the progressive candidate of these elections and makes no mistake in this regard”. Lightfoot said when she was questioned about why she wants to be the mayor of Chicago, that she was born in a low-income family and she learned from her parents about how to convert the opportunities into success and she wants to resolve the challenges of low-income families, gender inequalities, and racism. The Plumber’s Union of Chicago also endorsed Lightfoot in the runoff elections. Lightfoot said about unions, “Chicago needs a mayor who is not afraid of taking on the unions”. Lightfoot said about the decision of police training in schools, “the idea was to repurpose the vacant schools for helping the policemen to get training”. Lightfoot got endorsements from Gery Chico and laborers union as well. Our Revolution Chicago, a progressive group, endorsed Lightfoot in the election race. Matt O’Shea, the alderman of the 19th ward, also endorsed Lightfoot in the election. He said, I didn’t meet with Lightfoot but the campaigners of her convinced me to support her in the elections”.


Lori Lightfoot has been selected as a mayor of Chicago after the results of the runoff elections held on April 2, 2019. She got 73% of the total votes and defeated some of the big guns of Chicago’s politics. She got huge supporter from the candidates who got out of the race in the first round of the elections. She faced a lot of criticism in terms of her decisions as a public administrator. She faced criticism with great intelligence and mentality. She will hold the office from May 20, 2019, as a mayor of Chicago. Moreover, she is the first African-American lesbian mayor of a state of the United States.

By Andrew Davis

Senior writer at the Chicago Morning Star

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