Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

ELECTIONS 2019 Lori Lightfoot on her runoff campaign
by Matt Simonette
2019-03-27

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Attorney Lori Lightfoot, who is openly lesbian, finished ahead of multiple contenders vying for the Chicago's mayor's post on Feb. 26.

Since then, Lightfoot has been been locked in fierce opposition with Cook County Board President Toni Precckwinkle, who finished second that night, in the runoff election to determine who ultimately occupies the fifth-floor office of City Hall. Shortly after a Feb. 24 rally in Uptown, Lightfoot discussed the election and some of the accusations that have been leveled against her.

Windy City Times: What has been the biggest difference between running this campaign in the runoff and running it in the general election?

Lori Lightfoot: I think everything in the campaign has been raised to a different level. I think people in the city are really paying attention in a way that they didn't before Feb. 26.

So, certainly the crowds are larger and the enthusiasm is larger. I think the difference is this: People want a change, but they were skeptical about whether it was possible. The [Chicago] Machine is built to last—it's had a tremendous grip on literally everything how we move through the world [in Chicago] in government and business, and even little things at the neighborhood level are very much controlled by the Machine. People were tired of it and they wanted change, and they didn't necessarily think that it was possible. The fact that I won, as an anti-Machine candidate, and the way in which I won—better-funded and with better name recognition—really has ignited this incredible energy, and I'm hearing it from everyone, from the elite business community to the more grassroots [coalitions] and everyone in between.

WCT: We're speaking of change in the larger sense, pushback against the Machine. What are one or two specific types of change your supporters are indicating they want to see?

LL: They want a government when they can actually believe in their leaders, and where there is integrity and transparency. Aldermanic prerogative is a huge, huge issue, and a big line of demarcation between me and President Preckwinkle. I want to drive a stake through it, because I think it inhibits a way to get things done in a way that's not corruptive or corrosive. She supports it, and wants to maintain that system. Those are the kinds of issues that are resonating with people.

Also, making sure that our government runs more efficiently and that we are more respectful of people's tax dollars [are both important]. People feel like they are nickel-and-dimed. I can't tell you how many people come up to me and say, "You're not going to raise that soda tax, right?" Literally, every day that happens. But it's more profound than that. People feel like they are willing to pay their fair share, but they want to feel like the government is actually working for them and not against them. I think that's another theme resonating out there.

WCT: If you had one question for President Preckwinkle—and assurances she'd answer with 100 percent honesty—what would it be?

LL: Why'd you get in bed with Ed Burke?

WCT: What would be the first item on your agenda once set out to do the mayor's work?

LL: The biggest issue that we have to tackle is the violence in our city. It's the framing issue for everything else. We're not going to really uplift the quality of life in neighborhoods if the violence continues to rage. We can't bring business to neighborhoods that are desperate for investment if it's raging. It's going to be hard to rebuild neighborhood schools because people are emptying out because of the violence. The violence is the galvanizing force that we have to wrestle with in order to open up possibilities for everything else that people have to accomplish in neighborhoods.

WCT: How would you characterize your work in police reform, especially on two fronts: Your success at holding CPD accountable for infractions, and your engagement with families impacted by those infractions? It has been the source of considerable pushback for you, and the reason for protests at your events.

LL: The proof is in the pudding—when I took over responsibility for the Chicago Police Board, the Board held officers accountable 35 percent of the time. Over the arc of my tenure, we turned that around completely. By the time I left, that percentage was 73 percent of the time. It would have been higher, but a lot of officers quit instead of coming before the Police Board.

So I know there's a lot of noise around it—local policing and the way in which the police officers have treated community members is a way of a lot of anger, frustration and emotion. I get that. But it's important for us to keep focus on the path ahead if we're going to keep driving for change. I don't think there's been anyone in the city, particularly within the last three years, who's worked harder on police reform and accountability than I have.

It's not easy work. You fight in the midst of a lot of skepticism and anger, but I have been very diligent and steadfast that [CPD] has been respectful and engaged with the community. I want to gat to a place where—down to the beat officers—they understand that respectful and constitutional engagement with the community is their most powerful tool. We're not there yet. If I'm elected mayor, we're going to absolutely forge ahead, way beyond what's required in the Consent Decree, because we're going to have to build a city in which police are not feared or loathed, but are imbued with legitimacy. That would benefit the police.

I think about these issues when I think about young kids when I think about communities growing up with fear as their constant companion. For them, we must get this right—move beyond the rhetoric and make real, meaningful progress—and I know how to do that.

WCT: How would you characterize your work in corporate litigation, and answer critics who say it was in the service of union-busting or otherwise anti-worker interests?

LL: I'm not going to play into that. There are plenty of people who look like ke who have done great work in the corporate world. The truth is, Toni Preckwinkle called me up and solicited me for a donation, which I gave. She took $19,000 from my colleagues at Mayer Brown. She's taken money from Sidley [Austin], Jones Day and other law firms that do similar kinds of work. That's the ultimate red herring and hypocrisy, particularly when you see that she's solicited and received thousands of dollars from the same corporate lawyer that she's now trying to vilify.

I'm not going to buy into that; I'm proud of the things that I've accomplished in my life because my parents sacrificed every single day through their blood, sweat and tears to give me hope and opportunity. I'm not going to shy away from that. To try to vilify someone like me, who is a Black success story, is preposterous. We've got to move way beyond that.

If you look at the work that I've done, and the way I've used my firm's resources to help those in need through my pro bono hours, I've spent, when I was a senior equity partner, over 3,000 hours on pro bono work. … I spent 3,000 hours over the course of 13 years helping people in need, so that's my record.

WCT: How do you answer President Preckwinkle's criticism of your accepting $40,000 in so-called "dark money" from Change Chicago?

LL: She's taken money from 501( c )( 4 )s. That is totally legal. There's nothing "dark" about it. What is dark is taking $116,000 from Ed Burke and not giving it back when you've lied and said you would—that's dark.

WCT: What should Chicago expect of a mayor who's part of the LGBT community, should you win? Does that bring with it any special insight, or expectations?

LL: A mayor who understands that equity and inclusion have to be cornerstones. I want to make our city safe and welcoming for everyone and who you love, the God you worship, the color of your skin cannot control your destiny. We have to be a city that is welcoming and building bridges of hope and opportunity in every community, including the LGBTQ-plus community.

WCT: What have you learned about both the city as a whole, and the city's LGBT community, as you've run the campaign over the last 10 months?

LL: That the city is great, diverse, wonderful and challenging, and I am very blessed to have been on this journey.

Visit lightfootforchicago.com/ .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

FDA loosens restrictions on gay men who donate blood 2020-04-02 - On April 2, The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) said it would loosen some of the restrictions that have blocked gay ...


Gay News

'All in Illinois' launched to reinforce message to stay home 2020-04-02 - Gov. JB Pritzker launched a new statewide effort April 2 called "All in Illinois" to reinforce the state's core message, backed by scientists ...


Gay News

Lightfoot names next police superintendent 2020-04-02 - Mayor Lori Lightfoot named former Dallas police Chief David Brown as the next leader of the Chicago Police Department at an April 2 ...


Gay News

Democratic National Convention now in August 2020-04-02 - In a letter to the media, The Democratic National Convention (DNC) media logistics team announced that the 2020 event will be held the ...


Gay News

Arts for Illinois launches with grants for artists, groups 2020-04-01 - Arts Alliance Illinois joined Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot in launching Arts for Illinois—a collaboration between the State of ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: From an absorbing memoir to cool socks 2020-04-01 - —Ordinary Girls: A Memoir: In this hard-hitting memoir, Jaquira Diaz writes of struggling with depression and drug abuse while growing into her identity ...


Gay News

Gay sign-language interpreter on press conferences, LGBTQs 2020-04-01 - As a child, Michael Spencer Albert never knew how important his hands would be one day as an interpreter for the deaf community. ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2020 Jill Rose Quinn heads toward being state's first openly transgender judge 2020-04-01 - Among those notching victories on March 14, during Illinois' primary, was Democratic judicial candidate Jill Rose Quinn. Her win was significant in ...


Gay News

BOOKS Legendary Chicago 'lesbian of conscience' tells her story 2020-04-01 - In Emily L. Quint Freeman's no-holds-barred 262-page memoir, Failure to Appear: Resistance, Identity and Loss, she provides a gripping true-life story of a ...


Gay News

Cook County commissioner urges census participation 2020-03-31 - Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison will wrap up "#2020Census at the Brookfield Zoo," a weekly video series featuring information about the 2020 ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.