‘I’m optimistic about Chicago’s future’

Mayor Lightfoot reflects on her time at City Hall and says Chicagoans are why she’s optimistic about our city moving forward.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot, center, her daughter Vivian Lightfoot, and her wife Amy Eshleman walk to their seats before the mayor’s farewell address at BUILD Chicago in West Garfield Park on May 8.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, center, her daughter Vivian Lightfoot, and her wife Amy Eshleman walk to their seats before the mayor’s farewell address at BUILD Chicago in West Garfield Park on May 8.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Thank you for putting your faith in me and allowing me the privilege of serving as the 56th mayor of this great city. 

It’s surreal to think about where we started and how far we’ve come over the last four years. As an “underdog” candidate for much of the 2019 mayoral race, it was a tremendous experience to emerge from a group of 14 to assume the leadership of this incredible city, let alone lead it through a global pandemic, national unrest and a myriad of moments that tested our values and beliefs.

As humbled as I was to be elected to the role of a lifetime, I believe my election victory wasn’t about me — it was an inflection point in our city’s history. When Chicagoans voted for me, they were voting to put our city on a new path forward — to break up a failed status quo and forge a more equitable future, to leave behind the old-school politicians and machine candidates in the past.

Because of the way I won, I wasn’t beholden to anyone or anything but the people. And with that commitment to the people, our work began. 

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Over the last four years, we have worked to fundamentally change the social compact between city government and the people. By engaging with and listening to our residents, and by centering the lived experiences of Chicagoans in our work, we have demonstrated the city’s ability to serve the unique needs of our diverse communities.

We moved our city toward equity and inclusion in a way that ensures city government can never go back. From this point forward, city government will forever be beholden to the people.

Despite the unimaginable challenges we faced, we never abandoned our commitment to our North Stars of equity and inclusion. Quite the opposite, in fact. In the face of global and national crises, we deepened our commitment to equity, put aside politics to make tough but necessary calls and worked to break through the inequities holding our city back. To do this, we brought residents to the table and collaborated with on-the-ground experts and community partners to ensure that everything we were doing would leave a lasting, positive impact on the lives of our residents.

To the residents who were civically involved, who showed up at forums and town halls to share your ideas and hold us accountable, and who contributed to the vitality of our city — thank you. Thank you for contributing your time and efforts and for sharing your love and passion for this city. We would have never made the strides we did without you working alongside us, informing us and inspiring us.

I’m optimistic about Chicago’s future because of the monumental steps and achievements we’ve celebrated over the last four years. But more than that, I’m optimistic about the future of Chicago because of Chicagoans. We all share a deep commitment to our hometown, the city we love so much, and I’m confident that no matter what challenges come our way we will always work together to serve and strengthen Chicago.

Chicago, I urge you to continue holding the city accountable and continue demanding the service you deserve and know we are capable of providing.

I will always cheer you on as Amy and I continue to serve our city.

Lori E. Lightfoot was elected in 2019 as the 56th mayor of Chicago.

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