CHICAGO — A historic win for Lori Lightfoot as she will soon take office as the first female African-American mayor of Chicago.
Lightfoot, 56, a former federal prosecutor who’d never been elected to public office, defeated Cook County Board President and longtime City Council member Toni Preckwinkle on Tuesday with backing from voters across the city. Late results showed Lightfoot winning every one of the city’s 50 wards.
Lightfoot also made history becoming the first openly gay person to be elected Chicago mayor.
This is a major milestone for the LGBTQ community, for the black community and for women.
Lightfoot’s win is viewed as a rejection of “business as usual” politics in Chicago, a political landscape that’s often mired in corruption.
Cheers and resounding applause Tuesday night at the downtown Hilton, as Lightfoot took the stage with her daughter and wife.
Lightfoot shook hands with supporters before giving her victory speech.
“Out there tonight a lot of little girls and boys are watching. They’re watching us, and they’re seeing the beginning of something, well, a little bit different,” Lightfoot told a jubilant crowd. “They’re seeing a city reborn.”
The former federal prosecutor garnered well over 366,000 votes during Tuesday’s run-off election which had low turnout.
Lightfoot said when she launched her campaign 11 months ago, she was considered an underdog— with 14 candidates in the race—including the powerful political figures, the experienced, and the wealthy.
As the former head of the police board, Lightfoot rejected the political establishment during her campaign and is now focused on growing this city, despite a dwindling population, and create a more unified Chicago—breaking down the barriers between police and the communities they serve.
She pledged to make Chicago “a place where your zip code doesn’t determine your destiny,” to address the city’s violence and to “break this city’s endless cycle of corruption” that allows politicians to profit from their office.
Lightfoot will be sworn-in as mayor on May 20.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying he’s committing to making Lightfoot’s transition as seamless as possible, despite the short window.
Wednesday morning, she will be thanking voters at the “L” stop at Clark and Lake.
The mayor- elect is also expected to attend a unity event at Rainbow Push, facilitated by Rev. Jesse Jackson later Wednesday morning.