“It’s a new day, Chicago. We’re bringing in the Light.” When clicking on Lori Lightfoot’s website, the first message to be read is a big “THANK YOU CHICAGO” pop up, followed by the previous quote. Lori Lightfoot made history this spring as the first black woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago’s elected mayor.
The runoff election between Lightfoot and her opponent Toni Preckwinkle held consistently in the new mayor’s favor. Triumphant, focused, and humble, Lightfoot is ready to usher in lasting change to Chicago’s government. She stands for transparency and accountability. Lightfoot has a long history with those two themes, having worked in the past to bring justice to corrupt police and other sectors of City Hall.
Racism and injustice are held close to her heart, issues that she wants to work hard to reform. Lori Lightwood isn’t done making history, that’s for sure, so let’s take a look at 25 Facts About Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: The First Black, Openly Gay Person to Hold the Post.
Chicago has found a new leader in its recently elected mayor, Lori Lightfoot. Lightfoot was a former federal prosecutor before defeating Toni Preckwinkle for the mayoral position. She will the first openly gay person and black woman to lead Chicago.
Lightfoot’s attitude was victorious and humble. She remarked that the differences between herself and her competitor were “..nothing compared to what we can achieve together.” And remarked that they both would be working towards bettering the city they loved.
Lightfoot has said she wants to work towards restoring people’s faith in government. As mayor, she wants to invest in neighborhoods on the west and south sides and hold City Hall accountability and transparent to its people.
From a young age, Lightfoot was achieving big things. She played in her high school band and she was on the basketball team. Moreover, she was a yearbook editor, and pep club member. Lightfoot was also elected high school class president three times.
In search of financial independence, Lightfoot went on to attend law school. After being awarded a full scholarship, she graduated from University of Chicago Law School with her Juris Doctor degree in 1989.
Lightfoot has mentioned that her drive for entering public service included a desire to better represent the African-American community. She also held a sense of injustice based on the murder of a family member by a Ku Klux Klan member in 1920’s.
Lightfoot held the position of chief administrator of the ChicagoPolice Department Office of Professional Standards for two years. The branch has since become inoperative due to a lack of thoroughness during investigations.
Lightfoot took some time away from Mayer Brown to explore other avenues of justice. She held positions in the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications and as deputy chief of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services.
She was dismayed at the corruption of City Hall, where her investigations drew the ire of many. She returned to Mayer Brown shortly after.
In 2015, Lightfoot became President of the Chicago Police Board, which made recommendations for or against disciplinary action on cases of police misconduct. Under Lightfoot’s leadership, the board became much more punitive, deciding to fireofficers entirely in 72% of its cases.
Not long before the election, the manager of Preckwinkle’s campaign, Scott Cisek, came under fire when he compared Lightfoot to a Nazi in a post on Facebook. Preckwinkle swiftly fired Cisek and apologized publicly for his words.
Lightfoot finished first in the February election, which was in itself unorthodox. She placed highest out of fourteen candidates, though no one reached the necessary 50% of the vote necessary to win. Since the election was not won outright, Lightfoot and Preckwinkle advanced to a runoff election.
During the runoff, former candidates, including Mendoza, Chico, Paul Vallas, and Willie Wilson endorsed Lightfoot. She held a constant lead over Preckwinkle in the polls during the runoff campaign.
Though Lightfoot received criticism during the runoff from notable names such as Chance the Rapper and U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, she held firm to her stance that she took the concerns of the black community seriously.
Lightfoot is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2019.
Lightfoot currently resides in Logan Square neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. She is married to Amy Eshleman, who works as a full-time parent to the couple’s adopted daughter, Vivian.