Chicago’s “Lightfooted” New Mayor Promises Hope


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April 2 marked a historically significant win for the city of Chicago and even for the United States as a whole. New mayor Lori Lightfoot was elected the first African-American, openly gay leader of the city and the first of any other of the larger cities in the country. She is also the second woman and third African-American to be elected as mayor in Chicago.

   Despite challenges such as financial problems and the threat of a wide range of competitive candidates, she won the vote by a landslide against Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle as they went head to head in the election.

    In her campaign, lightfoot displayed herself as an autonomous, fierce yet humble candidate whose goal was to take down the “political machine” that contributed to some of the corruption and stagnation for which the city is infamous.

   On the night she was elected, Lightfoot spoke at the Hilton Chicago to hundreds of her supporters: “[My parents] taught me the values of honesty, decency, hard work and education. And they gave me faith, the faith that put me where I am today.”

   Lightfoot’s victory came at the right time, as an FBI raid on 50-year incumbent Edward Burke revealed an attempted bout of extortion linked to four other candidates in the election. One of these four included Preckwinkle.

    Lightfoot hopes that she can quell some of Chicago’s corrupt ways by working on issues such as crooked law enforcement, open-air drug markets, and gun violence, thus improving the quality of the city and its reputation. The day before the election, she commented frankly on these issues: “If people don’t feel safe, they’re not going to stay … if people don’t feel safe, they’re not going to have hope. If people don’t feel safe, they’re not going to invest.”

    The new mayor emphasizes that factors such as gender, sexuality and race mean little in the scheme of things, and these are just traits that are to be transcended in order for progress to happen. This election was a step in the right direction in the way of diversity, equality and peace for the people of the city.