Two years in office, Mayor Lightfoot touts successes, unapologetic to critics

Chicago News

CHICAGO — Thursday marked two years since Lori Lightfoot was sworn-in as mayor of Chicago.

Two years down the road and within the context of a COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago Mayor Lightfoot says she believes she’s done well in her leadership role, all things considered.

While she acknowledges that there’s more work to be done, Lightfoot’s opposition feels that she hasn’t accomplished enough two years into her term. As a result, citywide grassroots organizations and the Chicago Teachers Union gathered in Logan Square to express their sentiments.

“She ran for office as a reformer,” said Jazmine Salas, co-chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. “What a joke.”

Marking the anniversary, Lightfoot balked at the disdain, telling onlookers in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood, “I’m the mayor of this city. There’s always going to be people that are critical.”

On Thursday, the mayor touted some of her accomplishments.

“We delivered by creating INVEST South/West, our signature neighborhood investment program that has deployed already $70 million across our neighborhoods on the South and the West sides to catalyze over $300 million in additional investments from the private sector.”

She added that the city’s minimum wage would go to $15 an hour beginning in July. The city has also reached new contracts with all of its unions, including CTU, albeit with a strike and ongoing strife.

As for the Fraternal Order of Police, which on Wednesday, led by president John Catanzara gave the mayor a vote of no confidence, Lightfoot says she’s unbothered.

“Getting a no-confidence vote from that guy is a badge of honor,” Lightfoot said.

WATCH: Dozens march through Logan Square in protest of Lightfoot’s time in office

Other issues cited by the FOP related to Mayor Lightfoot include its rank and file members who routinely have had days off and holidays canceled during her tenure. Lightfoot responded, saying that the FOP is purposely pushing back on police reform measures and a strategy to stay away from the bargaining table.

“Four years on and their members are not getting any kind of a wage increase. They haven’t gotten a wage increase in four years and why? Because the current administration of the FOP has decided that the best strategy is to do nothing,” Lightfoot said.

Thursday night, in a phone interview, Catanzara said there was no validity to Lightfoot’s claims. He added that the mayor could give pay raises without a new contract in place. Furthermore, Cantanzara said negotiations are scheduled for Friday.

Earlier this week, Lightfoot declared that she would only grant one-on-one interviews to mark her two years in office to Black and Brown journalists.

The decision drew heavy amounts of criticism. Lightfoot remains unapologetic.

“So one day out 365 I say I’m going to mark the anniversary of my two years in office by giving exclusive one-on-ones to journalist of color and the word loses its mind,” she said. “How about we focus on doing what is necessary. To step up, make different and better hiring decisions to diversify the Chicago Press Corp.”

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