CHICAGO (AP) — Lori Lightfoot made history as the first black woman and first openly gay mayor to serve as mayor of Chicago four years ago, ending corruption in city hall and creating a safer, fairer city I won as a sworn outsider. .
But her run for a second term came amid concerns about continued high crime in the nation’s third-largest city and accusations that she was overly hostile and, at times, outright spiteful. very questionable. A tough leader with a passion for Chicago.
Ahead of the crowded Feb. 28 election, Mr. Lightfoot was put on the defensive in a heated race that turned into both a character contest and a policy debate.
“We started changing Chicago for the better,” Lightfoot said at a recent debate. “We want to finish the work we started.”
With nine candidates in the race, it is highly unlikely that anyone will cross the 50% threshold required to outright win a formal nonpartisan election. That means the winner will likely be decided in a run-off between his top two votes on April 4th.
If she loses, Lightfoot would become the first mayor of Chicago in decades to run for re-election and lose. Not enjoying the benefits of procurement.
The election will be the first test of how crime affects mayoral elections in the big city home to the Democratic Party. Other major cities electing mayors this year, including Philadelphia, are also grappling with how to balance progressive ideals with residents’ daily concerns about keeping their families safe.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who had never run for public office before, emerged from a crowded field in 2019, garnering support from voters tired of political corruption and cover-ups to go far. Beat a famous candidate.
She said her administration has made tangible progress on key issues, from pumping money into areas that have been underinvested for decades to removing illegal guns from the streets. said. But she notes that the past four years haven’t been easy, with protests against the global pandemic and police violence representing “some of the most difficult times we’ve ever faced” in Chicago. ing.
Lightfoot’s handling of the crisis has garnered praise at times, such as when he ordered lockdowns early in the coronavirus pandemic and an image of the stern-faced mayor became a popular meme. Behavior may be questioned.
After the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police sparked protests and civil unrest, Lightfoot ordered the city to raise a drawbridge over the Chicago River to stop protesters from entering the downtown area. Some see it as elitist, a way to protect a highly segregated upmarket part of the city at the expense of a neighborhood with a severely damaged and struggling business district. I thought.
But Lightfoot has been the hottest on the rise in crime, with nearly 800 homicides in 2021, reaching a 25-year high. Lightfoot notes that murders have dropped in the last year and says there are plans that are working. But those are still higher than when she took office, raising her concerns over other violent crimes in the city, including carjacking.
“We have made progress every year,” said Lightfoot. “But we are aware that people in the city do not feel safe.”
Lightfoot’s most formidable opponent is Jesus, a former member of the Chicago City Council, State Senate, and county committees, and a two-term U.S. Representative who lost the runoff to then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel eight years ago. It could be “Chui” Garcia.
Lightfoot ran TV ads denouncing Garcia’s corruption and took money from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, whose House campaign was accused of massive financial fraud. I mentioned that Garcia said he didn’t know Bankman-Fried and his campaign returned direct donations.
Garcia touts his record of working with communities across the city and playing well with others in a way he says Lightfoot doesn’t.
“She’s unnecessarily belligerent. She’s the best,” said Garcia.
Lightfoot was elected as a reform-minded outsider to rid the city of toll-paying politics, and campaign staff emailed public school teachers asking for students to volunteer for the campaign in exchange for class units. was criticized when Lightfoot said it was a mistake and apologized. The Inspector General is reviewing possible policy violations.
Some of Lightfoot’s biggest battles have been with the Chicago Teachers Union, which sided with the opposition in Lightfoot’s first mayoral election. , bickered over returning to teaching in schools during the pandemic.
This year, the teachers union backed Lightfoot rival Brandon Johnson. He was a Cook County Commissioner and former Chicago teacher and union organizer. Mr Johnson has criticized Lightfoot for running for office for being progressive and breaking his campaign promises, citing long distances from police stations and areas like where he lives in the western part of the city. We want to shift funds to better mental health care and other services for communities that have been neglected for a long time. side.
Lightfoot also clashed with Chicago’s police union, the Fraternal Order of Police. At a city council meeting, Lightfoot is caught by Mike calling the union leader “this FOP clown of his”.
The police union backed mayoral candidate Paul Vallas, a former city budget director and school leader who served as an adviser to the police union during negotiations with city hall. No,” he repeatedly called for an increase in the number of police officers.
Lightfoot accused Vallas of being a Republican in disguise and accused him of receiving campaign funds from Republican donors. Her campaign accused him of being too comfortable with the police union, calling its leader a “notorious bigot” and a supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Lightfoot has increased her support in several areas of the city.Rep. Bobby Rush was a major critic of her first campaign and a prominent booster this year. It joined Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly. Lightfoot maintained its commitment “even under the toughest circumstances,” Rush said.
The mayor has announced a number of achievements, including the $15 minimum wage that labor unions have been calling for for years, and the approval of a long-running casino expected to bring millions in revenue and thousands of jobs. pointing to the record. She also funds her $3 million-plus budget to protect access to abortions, including those traveling to Chicago from states where abortion is illegal.
In addition to Garcia, Valas and Johnson, other candidates running for office are wealthy businessman Willie Wilson, Chicago City Council members Sophia King and Roderick Sawyer, activist Jamal Greene, Cambium “Cam” Buckner State Rep.
The article was amended by removing a reference to Atlanta as one of the major cities to elect a mayor in 2023 and stating that the Chicago Teachers Union backed Lightfoot’s opposition in 2019.