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Lori Lightfoot elected mayor of Chicago

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History making election hasn’t meant that all of the LGBTQ community is happy.

Lori Lightfoot (Photo via Facebook)

CHICAGO — Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and corporate lawyer, won the Chicago mayor’s office with more than 74% of the vote. She will be the first black woman to hold the office and the first out LGBTQ person.

Lightfoot won in every ward and all but a handful of the city’s precincts. She beat Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff round and intense campaign.

Both ran as reformers and progressives, but also had histories that undermined the claims. Preckwinkle remains the County Board President and the leader of the Cook County Democratic Party, still considered by some to be the political machine in the county. She’s also been linked to Ald. Ed Burke, who is under investigation for pressuring donors to give money to Preckwinkle’s mayoral campaign. 

Lightfoot hasn’t been elected to office before, but has been appointed to positions by past mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emmanuel. Those positions include the head of the head of the Chicago Police Board and the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. And while she, like Preckwinkle, supports the consent decree being issued because of CPD abuses, there are activists who don’t welcome her election. Charlene Carruthers, a co-founder of Black Youth Project 100, tweeted the election was not good news.

 Benji Hart, writing in the Advocate, pointed out her involvement with the killing of Rekia Boyd, one of the more infamous Chicago police shootings in recent years.

As chair of Emanuel’s police oversight committee that reviewed cases of reported police misconduct, she was known to clash with Black families who lost loved ones to police murder. She infamously protected Dante Servin, an off-duty officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, from losing his job even after Black queer women and femmes under the #SayHerName banner fought vigorously for accountability for her death.

Likely the biggest thing helping Lightfoot win was a strong move for new faces in government. After the first and second rounds of voting, half of the city council will be new members. Some longtime, old-style politicians like Ald. Pat O’Connor were voted out after decades in office.  As the head of the county Democratic party, Preckwinkle had a harder time not looking like an establishment candidate.

With a new council, including a record number of Democratic Socialists, the days of a pliant city council could be over, especially with a mayor with no elective experience before. It’s going to be a interesting few years.

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