Lightfoot closes out mayoral run with confetti, cheers and a few tears — but no regrets: ‘It’s been a glorious morning’

Lightfoot and her wife Amy Eshleman, both teary-eyed, shook hands and hugged supporters who filled the City Hall lobby and spilled out onto LaSalle Street.

SHARE Lightfoot closes out mayoral run with confetti, cheers and a few tears — but no regrets: ‘It’s been a glorious morning’
Mayor Lori Lightfoot waves to supporters outside City Hall on Friday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot waves to supporters outside City Hall on Friday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Lori Lightfoot made what will likely be her final trip down from the fifth floor of City Hall as Chicago’s mayor on Friday, greeted by confetti cannons and the cheers of hundreds of supporters.

Lightfoot and her wife Amy Eshleman, both teary-eyed, shook hands and hugged the supporters who filled the City Hall lobby and spilled out onto LaSalle Street.

The Shannon Rovers played their bagpipes as she walked out and members of her staff, wearing matching “Equity is our North Star” t-shirts, fired off confetti cannons and shook hand clappers.

Lightfoot and Eshleman were taken away from City Hall in style — riding in the back of a maroon vintage 1940s Cadillac convertible.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot waves goodbye to supporters from the back seat of a 1940s Cadillac convertible on Friday, May 12, 2023.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot waves goodbye to supporters from the back seat of a 1940s Cadillac convertible on Friday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“It’s sad, there’s so much unfinished business she could have accomplished during a second term,” said Tina Hone, who had served as chief of community engagement in Lightfoot’s administration and lost her bid to represent the 5th Ward in the City Council. “The people of Chicago will eventually realize just how much good she did for the city.”

Lightfoot gave a farewell address Monday, telling an adoring crowd she is optimistic for the city’s future thanks to the work of her administration.

“We must continue to carry the baton forward. To all of you, do continue serving our city and working toward equity, inclusion, safety, fairness and vibrancy in every neighborhood,” Lightfoot said during that address. “I will be here as private citizen Lightfoot continually rooting for you and every resident of our city. My work is not done. I will roll up my sleeves in another form and fashion.”

Earlier Friday, Lightfoot went on a farewell bus tour, visiting various city-funded projects she oversaw, including Bronzeville Winery.

“It’s been a glorious morning,” Lightfoot said at the winery. “Saw the restoration of a bridge that hadn’t seen any work done to it since the 60s, $24 million at Webster [Avenue] crossing over the river, and then went to a variety of different Invest South/West sites,” Lightfoot said. “Great way for me to spend some of my last moments as the mayor of the city — touring the things that we have done to touch people’s lives.”

At Bronzeville Winery, she was asked if she had any regrets from her time in office. Lightfoot said she did not, and took issue with the question.

“I’m not going to, in my final days as mayor, give in to the narrative that I think is frankly pejorative and offensive that Mayor Lightfoot was mean and too tough,” Lightfoot said. “The notion that I’m tougher, more combative than Rich Daley or Rahm Emanuel is a joke. If I was a man, if I was a white man, we wouldn’t be having these discussions.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets a supporter outside City Hall on Friday, May 12, 2023.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot greets a supporter outside City Hall on Friday.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Lightfoot is the first elected Chicago mayor in 40 years to be denied a second term. The last was Jane Byrne, Chicago’s only other female mayor.

Colm Ronan, a tour guide, stopped at City Hall during the sendoff Friday afternoon, joined by Sergio Fagundo, a tourist from Miami.

Neither knew the sendoff was happening, Ronan said. He was taking Fagundo on a daylong tour of the city, and had stopped by City Hall to show off the architecture.

Instead, they got caught up in the excitement of the afternoon.

“This is history,” Fagundo said. “I’m here witnessing history — how cool is that?”

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