Additional Coverage from WTTW News
- Survey: Lori Lightfoot on the IssuesFeb. 8, 2019
- Why Lori Lightfoot Wants to Replace Mayor Rahm EmanuelMay 14, 2018
About the Candidate
Name: Lori Lightfoot
DOB: Aug. 4
Family: My spouse, Amy Eshleman, and we have a 10-year-old daughter.
Occupation: I am an attorney, police reform expert, and former leader of several City departments.
Political Experience: I have supported many political candidates over the years from donations to strategic and policy advice. Formally, I was the deputy campaign manager for the Phelan for Governor campaign in the early 1990s.
Hi, my name is Lori Lightfoot. I’m a police reform expert, lawyer, and former senior leader of complex City departments that improve public safety, support small businesses, and improve emergency response. I’ve spent my career taking on tough challenges and I’ll keep fighting for change as mayor.
I got into this race back in May because I know Chicago needs change. In this city, we have world-class talent everywhere. What we have been lacking is a leader who is willing to take on the status quo and carve a new, progressive path forward for this city.
When I got in this race seven months ago, I knew running against an incumbent mayor with a big bank account wasn’t easy—but someone needed to step up to fight for the neighborhoods in Chicago that have been left behind. I'm running because I care about this city.
Growing up, I faced many of the same challenges that Chicago families face today. I grew up in a working-class family, we struggled financially, and I’ve been denied opportunities based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. So when I see the challenges facing our city—from escalating violence and underfunded schools to unemployment and regressive taxes—factors forcing families out of the city—I cannot just look away. These are my fights, they’re your fights, and they’re the fights I’ll bring to City Hall.
We have an opportunity in this election to put these values into action—to elect a leader who understands, who will put people first, and who will reflect your lived experiences in government. If you want the same old, same old, well, you have an a la carte menu of choices. But if you want a truly independent leader, unbought and unbossed, as Shirley Chisholm said, then I’m your candidate. Join me and vote for change.
What is your vision for this office?
My vision for this office is to create a transparent City Hall that is more responsive and accountable to every person, not just the wealthy and well-connected. While parts of Chicago are prospering, too many areas of the city are starving for resources and are in crisis. I know that we can and must address these disparities so that we spread opportunity to every neighborhood.
Since I entered this race in May, I’ve spoken with tens of thousands of people all over the city, so I know that Chicagoans want change. We want a break from the past. And we want a new, independent leader who will empower communities to join together to solve our city’s greatest challenges such as violence, lack of high quality neighborhood schools, regressive taxes, and the pension crisis.
To build that more responsive and accountable City Hall, I will start with implementing new ethics rules—such as implementing term limits, banning elected and appointed officials from profiting from public service, and bringing much-needed oversight to the workers’ compensation program—and create opportunities for Chicagoans to have a real voice in government—such as through an elected school board and civilian oversight of the police. I know we can build a City Hall that works for every person and every neighborhood when we join together and fight for this shared goal.
What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?
The most pressing issue facing Chicagoans is inequality. I got in this race seven months ago because I saw disparities leaving entire neighborhoods and generations behind. Public safety, quality schools, economic opportunity, and good-paying jobs should be rights of every Chicagoan; however, for too long, they have been available only to a select few. These disparities have created an “us versus them” mentality all across our city, where many people believe that to invest here, we cannot invest there, or that to provide security and opportunity for some, we must deny security and opportunity to others.
I will address this problem by speaking transparently about the disparities that exist now and taking action to remedy injustices past and present. That means funding schools that have been under-resourced, creating job opportunities and job training programs, working with our neighborhoods to spark economic development and grow small businesses, and more. In approaching any problem, in creating any solution, in assessing the success of our City government along any measure, equity and inclusion will be my north stars.
Lori Lightfoot on the Issues
- What type of ban on outside employment for aldermen do you support? A partial ban
- What kind of mayoral term limits do you support? Two terms
- What kind of aldermanic term limits do you support? Three terms
- Should aldermen control zoning in their wards? No
- Who should make zoning and licensing decisions? The administrative branch
- Do you support a ban on Chicago politicians’ family members getting city jobs? Yes
- What kind of school board do you support? Elected school board
- Are you in support of teachers getting raises in their next contract? Yes
- Do you support a longer school day? No
- Do you support full-day kindergarten? Yes
- What type of charter school changes would you like to see? I think the current number is about right
- Do you support raising property taxes to help close the pension gap? No
- Do you support hikes in any other taxes/fees to help close the pension gap? No
- Do you support pension obligation bonds to help close the pension gap? No
- Do you support a change to the Illinois Constitution to end 3-percent compounded cost of living adjustments (COLAs)? No
- Do you support taxing marijuana sales to fund city pensions? Yes
- Do you support a city casino to fund city pensions? Yes
- Do you support building a new police and fire academy? No
- Would you hire more police officers and detectives? Yes
- Do you support raising property, real estate, or sales taxes to help hire more police officers? No
- Do you support tougher sentences for illegal possession of weapons? Yes
- Do you support tougher sentences for failure to report lost or stolen weapons? Yes
- Do you support building more bus rapid transit lanes? Yes
- Do you support the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) to fund transit upgrades? Yes
- What action will you take on TIFs? Use TIFs only in blighted areas
- What tax or taxes would you support raising to help fund city government? (Check all that apply) Expand Illinois' sales tax to include services, Other