CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was joined by her staff, bagpipers and confetti as she left city hall on Friday for the last time.
She is leaving office as a one-term mayor after losing her reelection bid to Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.
She became the 56th mayor of Chicago in 2019. It was her first political office after serving as president of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force.
Lightfoot was the city’s first Black, gay female mayor.
Before she left city hall in a maroon 1940s Cadillac, she spent time touring parts of Chicago the city has invested in.
“I feel very good about our record of accomplishment,” Lightfoot said. “I am confident that it will live on in the lives of the people that we have touched in the neighborhoods that we have breathed a new life.”
Lightfoot’s administration raised the minimum wage to $15 and expanded the fair workweek ordinance. The mayor has said she considers equity and inclusion guiding principles and is proud of Invest South West, the city’s signature community development initiative to invest in the South and West sides.
Amidst her accomplishments, Lightfoot has her share of critics, some calling her governing style combative.
“The notion that I am tougher, more combative than Rich Daley or Rahm Emmanuel is a joke,” Lightfoot said. “If I were a man, a white man, we wouldn’t be having these discussions.”
Lightfoot said she wishes Johnson success.
“We’ve done everything we could to set him up for success,” she said. “As I mentioned to him before and I’ll say it here, my door is always open for any consultation that he wants and I won’t even charge him.”
With life outside the public eye just days away, Lightfoot hasn’t said what her next steps are, but said family will be her focus.
“I’m going to be a mom, I’m going to be a wife, I am going to be a daughter to my mom,” Lightfoot said.