Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor

07 April, 2019, 00:24 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • AFP  Getty Images

With more than half of precincts counted, former president of independent civilian body the Chicago Police Board, Lightfoot, 56, had 74 percent of votes while Preckwinkle, 72, a long-time local politician had 26 percent in a runoff to become Chicago's 56th mayor. Lightfoot was the outsider, a little-known former federal prosecutor who grew up in OH and had never been elected to public office, much less climbed through the ranks of Chicago's Democratic machine.

Lori Lightfoot cruised to victory in the Chicago mayoral runoff election on April 2, becoming the first out lesbian black woman to lead the nation's third largest city.

But the significance of her win also transcended race or gender. Preckwinkle stood beside her.

"It's gonna be an interesting four years", she said.

For black residents, "you can't help but feel that the city and the city leaders have turned their backs on you", Cobb said.

On day one, she will also have to find a way to ease tension between the police department and state's attorney after prosecutors chose to drop charges against actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a hate crime attack.

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot says she's "got a lot of hard work ahead" as she prepares to take office next month.

The decisive victory for the 56-year-old former assistant USA attorney, who won every district in the city during what was her first-ever election race, came on an historic night for lesbian mayoral candidates: Out lesbian Satya Rhodes-Conway was elected mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, and out lesbian Jolie Justus nabbed the Democratic nomination for mayor in Kansas City, Missouri, where she advances to the general election in June. And Lightfoot, meantime, talked about getting rid of corruption at city hall, and that just kind of seemed to resonate with voters.

First black, gay woman elected Chicago mayor is University of Michigan alum

She told a cheering crowd people are seeing "a city reborn".

"Clearly, Lori offers us the best chance for real change", said Virginia McGathey, 60, who has been a broker at the world's largest agricultural exchange, the Chicago Board of Trade, for more than 35 years.

She earned broad support, receiving about three-fourths of the total vote and winning all 50 Chicago wards.

Finley Campbell, a spokesman for the Chicago-based Unitarian Universalist Multiracial Racial Unity Action Council, said part of what makes Lightfoot's win historic is also that she reached out successfully to white voters.

CORLEY: Well, I think it energized the LGBT community, and there was an instance of a homophobic flyer being distributed in one instance.

"It is historic because a black, openly gay sister is out there", Campbell said. But she noted there is much hard work ahead.

Lightfoot says her list of priorities includes public schools, immigration, financial issues and the city's violence problem. Lightfoot hopes to improve the reputation of the city's police department by building on her roles as the head of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.


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