Chicago’s New Mayor – Lori Lightfoot

On May 20, 2019, Lori Lightfoot was sworn in as the new mayor of Chicago.  She became the first black woman and the first openly gay person to hold the office in Chicago’s history.  Her victory was widely lauded for changing the system and driving for improved policy throughout the city.  Lightfoot won the election over Toni Preckwinkle in a run-off election on April 2, 2019.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Lightfoot had practiced law at the firm Mayer Brown and served as the President of the Chicago Police Board.  She also chaired the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. 

On Monday, during her swearing-in, she delivered a warm speech, addressing her desire to positively impact public safety, education, financial stability, and integrity, says Gaurav Mohindra.

During her inauguration speech at Wintrust Arena, Lightfoot vowed to challenge political corruption.  “You voted for change, and I plan to deliver change to our government. That means restoring trust in our city’s government and finally bringing some real integrity to the way this city works.”, said Lightfoot.

Lightfoot was busy on her first day in office as she signed an executive order decreasing aldermanic involvement in licensing and permits.  Chicago Alderman have previously been criticized for their role in influencing such services, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Lightfoot also discussed her desire to address incessant gun violence that has been plaguing Chicago for years and has become national news due to its widespread impact.  She has also expressed her commitment to neighborhood investment and improvement programs.  Lightfoot is inheriting a host of problems including a significant budget shortfall close to $700 million dollars.  Various City unions are also coming up on renewed contracts – including Chicago Police and Firefighters. 

Melissa Conyears-Ervin was also inaugurated as Chicago’s treasurer on Monday.  Conyears-Ervin is also a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the 10th District.  She was elected to that position in 2017. Anna Valencia was also inaugurated as City Clerk of Chicago.  Valencia has a long history of political involvement in Chicago and Illinois.  She was previously a staff member for Mike Quigley’s campaign for United States Congress in 2005 and was a member of a Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs team for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  Most recently, in 2015, she was a Senior Advisor for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election.

There is a lot of excitement and hope with the City’s new leadership.