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Culture > News

Lori Lightfoot as the New Mayor of Chicago

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

Chicago just became the largest American city to ever elect a black woman as it’s mayor, as voters on Tuesday voted Lori Lightfoot into office, a former federal prosecutor, to replace Rahm Emanuel Lightfoot, 56, who was an assistant U.S. attorney before she entered private practice, has never held elective office before. When she takes office in May, she will also be the first ever openly gay mayor.

Lightfoot surpassed her opponent, Toni Preckwinkle, on Tuesday afternoon; with over 91% of precincts in, Lightfoot led Preckwinkle 73.7 percent to 26.3 percent, according to the Chicago board of elections website. The Associated Press called the race less than an hour after polls closed, with Lightfoot leading Preckwinkle by nearly 50 percent. Early returns showed that Lightfoot won all 50 wards in a clean sweep across the city,

In her victory speech, Lightfoot said she was committed to ending the broken political culture of Chicago.

“We can and we will break this city’s endless cycle of corruption,” she said, raising her fist in the air. “And never again, never ever, allow politicians to profit from elected positions.”

“Out there tonight, a lot of little girls and boys are watching,” Lightfoot also said in her victory speech. “They are watching us and they are seeing the beginning of something, well, a little bit different. They are seeing a city reborn. A city where it doesn’t matter what color you are . . . where it doesn’t matter who you love, just as long as you love.”

In a city tarnished by economic inequality, persistent gun violence, $28 billion in unfunded pension obligations and endemic political corruption, Lightfoot made her case to voters that she was just the fit that Chicago needs to shake things up.

Lightfoot, who had previously led Chicago’s civilian board handling police discipline cases and worked for the law firm Mayer Brown, had been an underdog during the mayoral race. Lightfoot has said she plans to meet with Supt. Eddie Johnson to discuss the department’s plans for the summer but that she would hold off on making a decision on whether to replace him until after the summer is over. There is no hidden agenda to Chicago’s notorious record in street violence and inequality, this is a tough nut to crack for any individual elected into office for this city. In her term, Lightfoot will also face the ongoing effort to reform the police force. In recent years, the Chicago Police Department was the subject of a Justice Department investigation, which concluded a lengthy report essentially describing officers routinely violating rights of citizens, particularly with blacks and Latinos.

McLaughlin, E. (2019). Being elected 1st black lesbian mayor is great, but real prize is taking down ‘old, entrenched Chicago machine,’ Lori Lightfoot says. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/03/politics/chicago-mayor-elect-lori-lightfo…

Guarino, M., & Berman, M. (2019). Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor, becoming first black woman and first openly gay person to win the office. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/chicago-voters-set-to-make-histo…

Madhani, A. (2019). Chicago elects Lori Lightfoot as first gay and first black female mayor in city’s history. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/04/02/chicago-mayors-rac…

Stantis, S. (2019). Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Retrieved from https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/stantis/ct-mayor-lori-lightf…

sarai kelley

Arizona '20

My name is Sarai Kelley and I am a 19 year old professional concert photographer of four years. I'm from sunny San Diego, CA but moved to Phoenix, Arizona to pursue a career in psychology at Grand Canyon University; where I am now a senior in the midst of applying to graduate school to earn my doctorate!