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Why Lori Lightfoot Wants to Replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel


A crowded field of candidates – nine challengers, and counting – are vying to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Last Thursday, former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot announced that she too is running for mayor. Lightfoot was appointed and then reappointed to the Police Board by Emanuel. Her decision to run has infuriated at least one alderman: Nick Sposato of the 38th Ward, who calls it “the ultimate act of betrayal.”

Lightfoot is a senior partner at law firm Mayer Brown and if elected would become the first black woman and first lesbian elected to the city’s top job.

Lightfoot joins Carol Marin to talk about her decision to run.

Below: A few more details about Lightfoot’s life, provided by Lightfoot’s campaign at the request of Chicago Tonight.

Seven things you might not know about Lori Lightfoot

1. Prior to leading efforts to improve police accountability, Lightfoot led a revamp of Chicago’s 911 emergency management operation and cracked down on corrupt contracts that were intended for businesses owned by minorities and women.

2. Lightfoot’s father spent nearly a year in a coma that left him deaf due to complications from pneumonia that later developed into spinal meningitis. He recovered from the coma, working two to three jobs at a time to help raise Lightfoot and her three siblings.

3. Lightfoot’s mother was a housekeeper, a home health aide, and she was elected to the local school board where she served for 25 years.

4. Lightfoot has a brother who spent a significant portion of his life in and out of jail and prison, trying to rebuild his life with only a high school diploma. 

5. While attending the University of Chicago, Lightfoot led a protest that successfully suspended law firm Baker & McKenzie from recruiting on the campus after a partner was accused of racist, sexist and anti-Semitic comments while interviewing a student.

6. Lightfoot and her wife Amy married the day Illinois legalized gay marriage. They have a 10-year-old daughter named Vivian.

7. Lightfoot loves to garden, drives a moped, and is an avid sports fan, particularly when it comes to the Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, the University of Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!) and the Massillon Tigers.

More interviews with mayoral candidates:

William J. Kelly

Gery Chico

Bill Daley

Amara Enyia

John Kozlar

Paul Vallas

Ja’Mal Green

Dorothy Brown

Neal Sáles-Griffin

Troy LaRaviere

Willie Wilson

Garry McCarthy


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