Lightfoot seeks 2nd term: ‘We have started to change Chicago around for the better’

Despite a stormy first term, the mayor has challenged the media to “find another mayor” who faced the “unprecedented challenges” that confronted her. There was “no honeymoon period for me,” Lightfoot said last year.

SHARE Lightfoot seeks 2nd term: ‘We have started to change Chicago around for the better’
Complete coverage of the local and national primary and general election, including results, analysis and voter resources to keep Chicago voters informed.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants Chicago voters to view her combativeness as a virtue.

She made that clear last year, in the video she made to kick off her reelection campaign.

“They say I’m tough. They say I get angry. They say sometimes, I take things personally. You know what I say? They’re absolutely right,” Lightfoot says in the video.

“When we fight for change, confront a global pandemic, work to keep kids in school, take on guns and gangs, systemic inequality and political corruption only to have powerful forces try and stop progress for Chicago, of course I take it personal — for our city. Change doesn’t happen without a fight. It’s hard. It takes time. And I’ll be the first to admit: I’m just not the most patient person. I’m only human. And I guess sometimes, it shows. But just because some may not always like my delivery, doesn’t mean we’re not delivering.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is seeking her second term.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Even before she was officially in the race, Lightfoot told a City Club of Chicago audience in April that Chicago was poised for “the best economic recovery of any big city in the nation, bar none” — despite “what the naysayers” had to say.

After that speech, she challenged the media to “find another mayor” who faced the “unprecedented challenges” that confronted her. There was “no honeymoon period for me,” she said.

That upbeat message was on display again in mid-January, where Lightfoot offered a view of Chicago that often diverges from her challengers, who insist high crime rates have scared families and companies away from the city.

“I don’t know what city these folks live in,” Lightfoot said at a televised debate held at ABC 7 Chicago studio. “But the one that I live in, international household names are coming to Chicago.”

She ticked off a few major corporations she said “could be anywhere in the world, but they’re coming here and making significant investments.”

The mayor acknowledged “people in the city don’t feel safe,” but later urged voters to stick with her for a second term. “We have started to change Chicago around for the better.”

And though every challenger has vowed to fire Chicago Police Supt. David Brown the mayor has stood by him.

Her defense in August was typical.

“I have total confidence in David Brown. We’re making remarkable progress. We’re down over 16% in homicides. Almost 20% in shootings. You don’t get that without a determined, focused leader at the helm,” Lightfoot said then.

The last quarterly report to be filed with the state before the Feb. 28 mayoral election shows Lightfoot started the quarter with $2.94 million in the bank, raised $1.49 million and spent $3.01 million. She closed with $1.4 million in the bank.

Lightfoot frequently cites her humble beginnings in Massillon, Ohio, as the daughter of parents who came North in the Great Migration. On her way to the mayor’s office, Lightfoot held many jobs after graduating from the University of Michigan, then the University of Chicago Law School.

She was an equity partner at Mayer Brown — a global law firm where Lightfoot eventually made about $1 million a year. But she left in the late 1990s for the U.S. attorney’s office, prosecuting drug cases.

After that, she headed the city’s Office of Professional Standards under Mayor Richard M. Daley, and the city’s Police Accountability Task Force and the Chicago Police Board under Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

She also served as president of the Police Board and the Task Force on Police Accountability created in the wake of the fatal Laquan McDonald shooting.

But even after spending the last four years inside City Hall, Lightfoot kicked off her latest campaign still sounding like an outsider.

“When I got into office, the people who were used to having their way — who were used to dominating our city — they wanted their city back, and they’ve been fighting against us every single day,” Lightfoot told a restaurant crowd in Ashburn.

“We did not let them take the city back then, and we’re not gonna let them take it back now,” she said.

Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout

The Latest
Bet on it: Don’t expect Grifol’s team, which is on pace to challenge the 2003 Tigers for the most losses in a season, to be favored much this year
Dad just disclosed an intimate detail that could prolong the blame game over the breakup.
Twenty years after the city and CHA demolished high-rise public housing developments, there are still 130 acres of vacant land and buildings at several CHA redevelopment sites.
The recall affects the only medical option for many patients with end-stage heart failure who do not qualify for a transplant.
Evidence points to doping by unscrupulous trainers and owners.