As the United States continues to prepare for the 2020 presidential elections, a glimmer of hope is shining from Chicago, where not only did voters choose to continue the city’s tradition of Democratic leadership, but they placed former U.S. Attorney Lori Lightfoot in the mayor’s office, who will be both the city’s first black and gay leader. Former President Barack Obama — who has spent a great deal of time in the area — shared support for Lightfoot, commenting:
‘Great to see Chicago’s historic mayoral race between two highly qualified candidates. Congrats to our next mayor, Lori Lightfoot—and Toni Preckwinkle campaigned hard and did us proud. I know that with our city’s heart and Lori’s leadership, Chicago’s best days are still ahead.’
Lightfoot will be replacing Rahm Emanuel as the city’s leader after the one-time chief of staff in the Obama White House served as Chicago mayor for eight years.
She has laid out a number of high-profile issues as high on her agenda, including the people of her city’s relationship to the police and rampant dismissal of lower income areas. During her campaign, as another spotlight on issues enveloping Chicago policing, the contentious trial unfolded of three police officers who were alleged to have helped cover up the true nature of the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2015.
As for concurrent issues of poverty, Lightfoot told NPR:
‘We need to make sure that we are bringing real hope and economic opportunity to so many neighborhoods that have been disinvested in for decades. Building channels for people to believe that the city sees them and hears them and is willing to invest, is going to be critically important, and we have to start that right away.’
She also noted the important nature of her victory for the minority communities she has a stake in, calling her ascent to power as a black gay woman “a milestone in a long journey that will continue to demonstrate though that we’re making progress.” At least comparatively, she’s an outsider, having never held elected office before although as mentioned, she did work in government as a U.S. Attorney and in police oversight. She defeated fellow black woman and Democratic Party leader Toni Preckwinkle.
Elsewhere, there are further strides being made towards the inclusion of previously underrepresented minority communities at the political table. In the Democratic presidential primary field, there are a number of candidates representing such communities including South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is gay and doing newly well in the polls besides pulling in millions of dollars in donations. There are also Senators Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), both of whom are black.
Meanwhile over in the Trump administration there’s still just one black guy. To be more specific, Trump’s Cabinet’s only black member is Ben Carson, who serves as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The point isn’t that African Americans should be elevated above whites like some paranoid internet lunatics might claim — the point is that the Trump team does not represent the actual interests of vast swaths of the American population.
Chicago Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot does.
Check out Twitter’s response to Obama…
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