Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot wasted no time in her soon-to-be position, as she met privately with Chicago’s Police Chief Eddie Johnson, the day after she won the election in a landslide victory. Her historic win was sealed when she won all the wards in her bid to create change in America’s third largest city.
Mayor-elect Lightfoot will take over the reins of the city from Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who chose not to run for office, after the video of the young teenager, LaQuan McDonald, had been released with the assistance of the Freedom of Information Act.
An unarmed Mr. McDonald was gunned down with 16 shots from a former Chicago Police officer, who will be released from prison in three years or less. Young people in the city would chant, “16 shots and a cover-up,” whenever the mayor made guest appearances in public spaces. McDonald’s family received a financial settlement from the city, but the current mayor could never live the shame of the child’s murder down, since it happened under his watch.
With the warmer temperatures during the spring and upcoming summer months, Lightfoot wants to grab a hold of Chicago’s most dangerous and pressing issue, which is gun violence. The tension between the police department and from members of the Black community has invoked more protests and outrage in the city and Mayor-elect Lightfoot knows that this issue is the powder keg in the inner city.
Lightfoot is a former trial lawyer and federal prosecutor. She hails originally from Ohio and worked her way up from a working class family to a millionaire. She lives on the North side of the city, with her wife, Amy Eshleman, and their daughter, who attends a private school. Lightfoot thanked her mother in her acceptance speech, as she shared the stage with a diverse group of people from the city.
Lightfoot’s challenger, Toni Preckwinkle, was gracious at the Rainbow PUSH breakfast, that the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and staff, organized the day after the election, to ensure that both women would work together for the betterment of the city.
Madame President Preckwinkle touted her experience as the main reason why she was running for mayor, but Chicago voters wanted change in the city. Preckwinkle is the president of the Cook County Board and will return to her position, as Lightfoot officially assumes her duties on May 20th.
Preckwinkle was looked upon as the old guard of Chicago’s Democratic Party. Madame President Preckwinkle often said that being the mayor was not an entry-level job, but voters wanted change on many levels. Lightfoot said that she would fight against corruption and make the city council diverse and have integrity. Several key city council seats were also overturned with a former rapper and community activist unseated key figures who have served faithfully with outgoing Mayor Emmanuel.
Only 30 percent of Chicago’s one million voters voted at the polls, and most voters were 40 years-old and older. Some say that the apathy came from young candidates dropping out of the primary race or being defeated.
Millionaire and Black business mogul Willie Wilson, who also ran for mayor and finished fourth in the primary, asked his followers and the church community to support Mayor-elect Lightfoot. Lightfoot and Wilson also spent a weekend with the Chicago’s Steppin’ community and the club scene a couple of weeks before the election.
Another issue Mayor-elect Lightfoot would like to tackle is making city services equal for all areas of Chicago’s West and South siders.