The former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot has elected as Mayor of the largest American city Chicago. She will be the first openly gay person and first African-American woman to lead the city. She thanks supporters and told they had “made history”.
Lori Lightfoot, who has never held political office before, fought competition with 13 other candidates and dominated the final run-off election with more than 74% of the vote.
“Together, we can and will finally put the interests of our people – all of our people – ahead of the interests of a powerful few,” Lightfoot said in her victory speech on Tuesday night, vowing to bring an end to the city’s gun violence, and “break this city’s endless cycle of corruption”.
“Together, we can and will make Chicago a place where your zip code doesn’t determine your destiny,” she said.
Toni Preckwinkle, who leads Cook County’s Democratic Party, defeated with Lightfoot seen as favorite to win. She said that mayor “is not an entry-level job” and that “it’s easy to talk about change. It’s hard to actually do it.”
Lightfoot will take the reins at a difficult time for the city, which continues to face high rates of gun violence, a precarious education system, and huge financial problems, not least a pensions funding crisis.
But at Lightfoot’s election night party, her enthusiastic supporters expressed confidence that the reform candidate would be a step forward for the city. Some of her supporters toted signs bearing her campaign slogan, “Bring in the Light” chanted Lightfoot’s name.
“I really hope that Lori can be the light for this city,” said Shawanda Johnson, a resident of the city’s Roseland neighborhood who began volunteering for Lightfoot after the February election. “I’m just glad to be part of history.”
National advocates for gay rights celebrated Ms. Lightfoot’s win. “Now young queer women and women of color can see themselves reflected in a position of major political leadership,” said Stephanie Sandberg, executive director of LPAC, an organization that works to build the political power of L.G.B.T.Q. women.