Published: Fri, April 05, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Chicago Makes History With Election of New Mayor

Chicago Makes History With Election of New Mayor

In Chicago, voters made history Tuesday night by electing the city's first African-American woman as mayor.

A former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot won 74 percent of the vote with almost all precincts counted compared with 26 percent for Preckwinkle, a long-time local politician, to become Chicago's 56th mayor.

The new mayor said that she meant to lead in a different direction than outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel - who famously eschewed federal funding over DACA and declared Chicago to be a "Trump-free zone". "But as the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor of an American city - a title she takes from me - she is also now a key leader in the movement to build LGBTQ political power nationwide".

"What's also historic for me is she reached out very successfully to the white ethnic community, where you have traditional Polish, German, Irish-type people. You know, too much of a machine", said John Reyes, 71, speaking outside a polling place in the Albany Park neighborhood. At the time, her most public role had been serving as president of Chicago's civilian Police Board, which handles officer discipline.

She said her priorities upon taking office will be to get a handle on violence, rebuild the public school system, ensure Chicago is welcoming to immigrants and confront the city's deep financial problems. She also had represented corporate clients accused of discrimination and Chicago officials defending accusations of police misconduct. "All over Chicago, people feel the effects of the us-versus-them style of governance".

Preckwinkle is the chief executive of Cook County where Chicago is based, which analysts said worked against her during a change election as voters sought to shake up city hall.

Lori Lightfoot will meet with commuters Wednesday morning at a Chicago Transit Authority train station.

"I feel like she (Lightfoot) has a better take on not taxing us", Farrelly said while walking her dog.

Lightfoot will become Chicago's first openly gay mayor as well as the first African America woman to hold the post.

Lori Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP.

Her ascendancy to the top of Chicago government was a stunning development in a city where insider deals and entrenched party politics held sway for decades.

Despite the barbs on the campaign trail, the two advanced similar ideas to boost the city's deeply troubled finances, which include an estimated US$250 million budget deficit next year and billions in unfunded pension liabilities.

Both women have supported casino activity in downtown Chicago and both support changing to a graduated income tax that would draw more from wealthier citizens.

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