Here’s what I am hoping for after this historic Chicago election:
1. I hope the City Council recognizes that new Mayor Lori Lightfoot comes in with a firmly established mandate for change, particularly regarding ethics reforms and economic development for the south and west sides.
2. I hope Mayor Lightfoot realizes that, based on the low voter turnout, many Chicagoans were not excited by her candidacy or her opponents’. Thus, Lightfoot must now take special care to reach out to those who opted not to go to the polls, to learn why this election failed to capture their interest and what she, as mayor for all, should do to address their interests and concerns.
3. I hope that public officials in Chicago and beyond will recognize that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, although an experienced, able, and dedicated public servant, demonstrated a seemingly blind loyalty to the status quo and an entrenched political hierarchy. Chicagoans are no longer willing to accept that, and will start to question and push back against the intractable “machine” politics that have characterized Chicago’s political culture for decades.
4. I hope that black women leaders will rejoice in the well-deserved recognition they are receiving for the important role they play in electoral politics. We call our sisters and we get out the vote for candidates we believe in, and we will work for candidates who have a vision that gives us hope for the future, both for ourselves and for our families.
Mayor-elect Lightfoot has earned our support. Our hopes and dreams now rest with her, and her fortitude to govern within Chicago’s complex politics. I wish her good luck and Godspeed.
Sharon R. Fairley, professor, University of Chicago Law School
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A lesson for teen journalists
I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to present my eighth-graders with a challenging topic for a journalism essay: Chicago’s mayoral runoff election.
These teens may not have been around for President Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008. But in the spring of 2019, they were able to write about an election in which an openly gay African-American woman was the overwhelming choice to lead this great, but troubled city.
Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot, thank you for the opportunity.
Kevin Murray, Chicago
A proud moment for LGBTQ community
I’m an Illinois native who spent over 30 years as a state college professor in Tennessee. Ever since the Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage equality, the Tennessee Legislature has at every opportunity introduced bills that found new ways to codify discrimination against the LGBTQ community. After retiring 12 years ago, my husband and I moved back to Chicago.
I was proud when Illinois passed marriage equality legislation, and proud again now that Chicago has elected its first lesbian mayor. It’s great to live in a city and state that doesn’t try to find new ways to discriminate against its LGBTQ citizens.
Bob Barth, Edgewater
A ‘win-win’ for Chicago
Chicago residents woke up Wednesday to a rare political win-win. Toni Preckwinkle’s steady hand will continue to improve Cook County as its board’s president, while Lori Lightfoot’s exciting energy will guide the city as mayor. For Chicagoans who have endured horrible leaders in both positions in the past, it is a great new day.
Don Anderson, Oak Park