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Lori Lightfoot Wins 2019 Mayoral Election, Community Leaders React

4/3/2019, noon | Updated on 4/3/2019, noon
For the first time in the city’s history, Chicago will be led by an African American woman. Lori Lightfoot was ...
Lori Lightfoot (pictured) was elected to be the next Mayor of Chicago. Photo Credit: Lori Lightfoot for Chicago

Lori Lightfoot Wins 2019 Mayoral Election, Community Leaders React

For the first time in the city’s history, Chicago will be led by an African American woman. Lori Lightfoot was elected to be the next Mayor of Chicago in yesterday’s historical election that saw two female African American candidates go into the final runoff. Both candidates fought hard by participating in multiple mayoral forums, running advertisements, visiting neighborhoods, and executing massive fundraising efforts.

At press time, Lori Lightfoot had received 74 percent of the vote and her opponent Toni Preckwinkle had received 26 percent of the vote. Chicago’s first African American Mayor, Harold Washington, served from 1983 to 1987 and many people compared this historic election to the election of Mayor Washington.

“As a candidate, we knew Harold Washington, his capabilities, as well as his commitment to the community. We had a great expectation and knew who he was and how he was as an elected official. He was a proven commodity and we were proud that he was an African American and we knew that he would serve us well and he did not disappoint us,” said Don Rashid, former assistant press secretary for Mayor Harold Washington.

Rashid said that he doesn’t expect Lightfoot to disappoint him or the city but that he believes that you can not compare the two elections.

“It’s almost odious to compare them to Harold Washington even though he is the gold standard. We could measure all candidates by his example of commitment and effectiveness but I caution our people to not look for another Harold. We need a very capable, honest, willing candidate who will serve honorably in the office,” said Rashid.

As a former candidate for Mayor, LaShawn Ford made it onto the ballot in February but didn’t garner enough votes to enter yesterdays runoff election. After his run for Mayor, he returned to his position as Representative of the 8th District of Illinois which covers several neighborhoods on the west side of the city. According to Ford, Lightfoot can’t ignore the needs of the south and west sides of Chicago and still be successful.

“You can’t be an effective Mayor if the south and west sides of Chicago are not impacted in a positive way. When you look at the first 100 days, if the south and west side of Chicago are not part of your plan and if there is not an agenda for the south and west side, I can tell you now that the rest of your administration will not be successful,” said Ford.

Economic development was a focal point of both Mayoral campaigns and Melinda Kelley, chairman and president of the Chatham Business Association’s board of directors, said that she hopes that the new administration can recognize that small business development will help to address crime and poverty in the city.

“To be quite honest, we have made a lot of strides in terms of small business development,” said Kelly. “The challenge is how you keep the momentum going because even though it has been going up, it has not been going fast enough or far enough.”