Chicago Elects Lori Lightfoot, Its First Black Female, Openly Gay Mayor

Lori Lightfoot will be Chicago’s 1st black female mayor

Lori Lightfoot will be Chicago’s 1st black female mayor

The US city of Chicago has made history by electing an African-American woman as its mayor for the first time.

"She brings fresh air and is someone I can trust", Shisha Amabel, a 72-year-old retired social worker who joined supporters at Lightfoot's celebration at a Michigan Avenue hotel.

Lightfoot, 56, who had served as an assistant USA attorney before entering private practice, emerged as the surprising leader in the first round of voting in February when 14 candidates were on the ballot. Lightfoot, who is married to her wife and has one daughter, is now the city's first openly gay mayor.

She fought off competition from 13 other candidates and dominated the final run-off election with more than 74% when the vote was called.

- Chicago voters on Tuesday chose Lori Lightfoot to be the city's next mayor.

Her ascendancy to the top of Chicago government was a stunning development in a city where insider deals and entrenched party politics held sway for decades.

Voters had left little doubt they want the next mayor to tackle major issues vexing the city of 2.7 million people - especially economic disparities and gun violence that claims more lives than in other major American cities.

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Gun violence, fueled by gangs and the drug trade, plagues economically-depressed neighborhoods in the South and West, which are majority African American.

The Chicago Police Department must implement a federally monitored consent decree approved in January. In Lori's LGBTQ policy framework, she outlines increasing LGBTQ representation in government by appointing mayoral LGBTQ liaisons, bolstering safety and justice for the trans community by improving police training and thoroughly investigating hate crimes, and addressing the needs of Chicago's LGBTQ community by creating youth drop-in centers and expanding housing options for seniors and veterans.

She also served as President of the Chicago Police Board from 2015 to 2018, where she worked to decide disciplinary matters involving all allegations of police misconduct.

"We can and will finally put the interests of our people, all of our people, ahead of the interests of a powerful few", Lightfoot said Tuesday night.

Lightfoot emerged as the surprising leader in the first round of voting in February when 14 candidates were on the ballot to succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who decided against running for a third term. The body was set up after the death of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald at the hands of a police officer in 2014 and subsequent alleged cover-up.

The video - showing officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into the knife-wielding teen even after he fell to the ground - was not released for more than a year.

Van Dyke was convicted and sentenced to almost seven years in prison.

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