Lori Lightfoot Elected Chicago's First Openly LGBTQ Mayor

Minnie Murray
April 4, 2019

Chicago has elected its first black, female mayor, becoming the largest US city to do so, and she is a University of MI alum. She's the first black woman and first openly gay person to be elected Chicago's mayor.

Lightfoot will become Chicago's first openly gay mayor as well as the first African America woman to hold the post.

Lightfoot, who is a political newcomer, won support from every part of Chicago, a city whose residents clearly want to turn the tide against entrenched politicians, corruption and insider dealings, which have plagued the city for decades.

Lightfoot defeated Toni Preckwinkle, who served on City Council for 19 years before becoming Cook County Board president, according to the Associated Press.

Before that, Lightfoot thanked voters at the Clark-Lake CTA station.

John Allison, a 64-year-old dog catcher, also compared Lightfoot with Washington, and said he believes she has a better chance of bringing the city together.

But Lightfoot, the first black woman chosen to hold the position, emphasized the "fractured relationship" between the Chicago Police Department and the public as a critically important safety issue.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker alluded to former U.S. President Barack Obama, once an IL senator, in offering his congratulations.

On Tuesday night, she congratulated her new counterpart.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters in the February general election that saw 14 vie to succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Lightfoot marked her win with a powerful speech in which she was joined on stage by her wife and daughter.

Reforming the police department, which has a sordid history of abusive tactics, and city hall, which is mired in a federal corruption probe of one of its members, were priorities for voters, McKenzie said.

She will be expected to deliver on a campaign promise to reform the police department now under court-appointed oversight to address a 2017 Justice Department finding of widespread excessive force and racial bias by officers.

"Can you imagine being a kid growing up and seeing someone like you on stage, like you were last night, declaring victory in the mayor's race in Chicago", he said. Both African-American women ran as progressives outside the sphere of Chicago's well-moneyed political machine. She got in the race even before Emanuel announced he wouldn't seek re-election amid criticism for initially resisting calls to release video of the shooting.

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

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