25 Facts About Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Posted by , Updated on March 25, 2024

“When the dawn breaks, Chicago, we usher in the Light.” This is the initial message you come across on Lori Lightfoot’s website, right after a prominent “THANK YOU CHICAGO” pop-up. This spring, Lori Lightfoot etched her name in history as the first African American woman and the first acknowledged lesbian to hold the elected position of mayor in Chicago.

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.


Paving the path


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.


By a landslide


Ligthtfoot won the race in a landslide. Leading with over 91 percent of precincts, she overtook Preckwinkle 73.7 percent to 26.3 percent.




The moment was picture perfect, Lightfoot pumping her fist in the air, calling, “Thank you, Chicago!” and the crowd cheering in response.


Working together


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.


Private to public


At 56 years of age, Lightfoot has never held an elective office before. She was previously an assistant U.S. Attorney before entering private practice.


First time for everything

lori20 https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/lori-lightfoot-elected-chicago-mayor-will-be-1st-black-woman-n990266

The election itself was historic, as Chicago has never before been led by a black female mayor.


What she stands for


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.


Family life


Growing up, Lightfoot was the youngest of four children. Her mother was a healthcare aide and school board member. Her father a factory worker and janitor. They grew up in Massillon, Ohio.




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.


Knowledge is power


Lightfoot would not allow humble beginnings to hold her back from success. She worked seven jobs to afford her education, graduating from the University of Michigan with her BA in political science.


Big goals


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.


Close to home



While Lightfoot was an undergraduate, her older brother was arrested in connection with a bank robbery. She has cited this as a reason for her drive to enter into public service.


The beginning


Lightfoot’s first legal job after graduating from law school was as a practicing attorney at the Mayer Brown law firm.



lori12 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_Lightfoot#Early_life

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.


Working hard


During her time as a federal prosecutor, Lightfoot helped to bring to trial many drug crimes. She also assisted with Operation Silver Shovel, which was an FBI investigation into Chicago corruption.


Branching out


Lightfoot held the position of chief administrator of the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards for two years. The branch has since become inoperative due to a lack of thoroughness during investigations.


Corruption runs deep


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.


Delivering justice


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 fire officers entirely in 72% of its cases.


Building a following


Lightfoot garnered much support during her campaign, and picked up several endorsements. Those endorsements included support from several LGBTQ groups and local politicians.


No shots under the belt


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.


Not over yet


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.


Support systems


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.


Holding fast


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.


Settling in


Lightfoot is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2019.


Home life

lori4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lori_Lightfoot

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.

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