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Lightfoot rounds out transition team with co-chairs, committees and task force

Lori Lightfoot

Chicago mayoral dandidate Lori Lightfoot addresses the crowd at her election night party as she leads in the polls on Tuesday. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Former mayoral challenger and businessman Willie Wilson has landed on the slate of co-chairs leading Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s transition team.

Wilson was one of 14 candidates running for mayor in February, but he wound up endorsing Lightfoot over Toni Preckwinkle in the runoff last week.

The transition team, which was announced Wednesday, also includes former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, sister of Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Chicago United President and CEO Gloria Castillo; NanoGraf Corporation CEO Samir Mayekar; Field Foundation of Illinois President Angelique Power; former White House chief of staff Samuel K. Skinner, Leadership Greater Chicago CEO Maria Wynne and Chicago Federation of Labor President Robert Reiter.

The Chicago Federation of Labor has an ownership stake in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Willie Wilson endorses mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot during a press conference at Chicago Baptist Institute International, Friday afternoon, March 8, 2019.

Willie Wilson endorses mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot during a news conference at Chicago Baptist Institute International on Friday, March 8, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

In addition, Lightfoot named a task force to focus on the city’s budget deficit and related financial issues. It will be led by Jeffrey Bethke, DePaul University executive vice president and chief financial officer.

The transition team itself will include ten committees, focusing on topics ranging from the arts and culture to business and neighborhood development to public safety. Each has its own slate of co-chairs, although the Young Advisers Committee was to pick its own leaders at its first meeting.

One of the co-chairs of the Business, Economic, Neighborhood Development Committee is Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz, who also has an ownership stake in the Sun-Times.

Lightfoot, who will be sworn in May 20, announced other key members of the transition last week, including former Lightfoot campaign manager Manny Perez, who will serve as intergovernmental adviser; chief of staff Maurice Classen, who served with Lightfoot on the Task Force for Police Accountability; senior adviser Ra Joy, Chris Kennedy’s running mate for lieutenant governor, transition manager Lisa Schneider-Fabes; and senior adviser Sarah Pang, who once served as deputy chief of staff for public safety under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

The mayor-elect also urged Chicagoans to submit their ideas and resumes to her transition website.

“I’m proud to announce that this diverse group of leaders from across Chicago will be co-chairing our transition,” Lightfoot said in a statement announcing the co-chairs. “It is a mix of experienced professionals who have worked long and hard for decades on the most pressing issues facing the city, and new voices bringing fresh perspectives.”