Lori Lightfoot elected first openly gay and black woman mayor of Chicago


Andres Correa/ Daily Senior Staffer

Lori Lightfoot gives her acceptance speech in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel. Lightfoot won the mayoral runoff election with about 73 percent of the vote.

Andres Correa, Assistant City Editor

Lori Lightfoot defeated Toni Preckwinkle to become the next mayor of Chicago in a landslide victory on Tuesday.

With over 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Lightfoot received 73.70 percent of the vote to become Chicago’s first black female mayor. Lightfoot, who will also be Chicago’s first openly-gay mayor, mounted the stage of the Hilton Grand Ballroom to announce her victory.

“With this mandate for change, now we are going to take the next steps together,” Lightfoot said. “Together we will make Chicago a place where your zip code doesn’t determine your destiny.”

Lightfoot, with 341,661 ballots casted in her favor, defeated Preckwinkle who received 121,906 votes, 26.30 percent of the total. The Associated Press called the race within an hour of the polls closing.

A former senior equity partner at Mayer Brown – the largest law firm in the United States in terms of profits – Lightfoot campaigned on a platform of investing in neighborhood schools, reforming the Chicago Police Department, and expanding affordable housing options.

For Andria Goss and Kimberly Boyd, election night was their first time volunteering for the Lightfoot campaign. They both said Chicago needs a change, and they saw that change in Lightfoot.

“We need someone who acknowledges that this city is not about one type of people,” Boyd said. “It is about different types of people. It is a melting pot.”

After the AP confirmed her victory, hundreds of Lightfoot supporters gathered near the stage to wait for the new-Mayor elect. Ra Joy, a community activist, kicked off a series of speeches before Lightfoot took the stage, which included Kaylie Avila, one of Lightfoot’s youngest volunteers who has dreams of becoming president.

As Lightfoot’s campaign continued its speeches, Preckwinkle delivered her concession speech. She said while she might be disappointed, she is not disheartened.

“Not long ago two African American women vying for this position may be unthinkable,” she said. “While we may have taken different paths to get there, tonight is about the path forward.”

As Lightfoot took the stage, the room was full of energy as the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Her acceptance speech focused on creating a new Chicago that considers everyone.

She said she envisions a Chicago, “where it doesn’t matter who you love just as long as you love with all your heart. … In the Chicago we will build together we will celebrate our differences… and make sure that all have the opportunity to succeed.”

For Kenneth Hamilton, the most moving part of Lightwood’s acceptance speech was when she told the crowd to hold each others’ hands. He said he has never seen something like that from any other politicians in the city.

Hamilton has been following Lightfoot’s campaign since the beginning. For him, Lightfoot is the complete opposite of the Chicago political establishment.

“I’d rather vote for someone, who has never been in office, who works with the people,” said Hamilton, “rather than have someone run the system without the people’s input.”

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