In This Biography
Lori Lightfoot Biography, Family, Career, Networth, Scandal, Spouse
Mayor Lori Lightfoot Biography
Mayor of Chicago, 2019-
The non-partisan primary election on February 26, 2019, resulted in a run-off general election with Toni Preckwinkle, having defeated Gery Chico, William M. Daley, Amara Enyia, La Shawn K. Ford, Robert “Bob” Fioretti, Jerry Joyce, John Kenneth Kozlar, Garry McCarthy, Susana A. Mendoza, Neal Sales-Griffin, Paul Vallas and Willie L. Wilson
Elected 56th mayor of Chicago on April 2, 2019, in the general election, defeating Toni Preckwinkle
Chicago’s first African American female mayor and first openly gay mayor
Inauguration: May 20, 2019
Born August 4, 1962, in Massillon, Ohio
Graduated from the University of Michigan in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in political science
Graduated from the University of Chicago in 1989 with a Juris Doctor
Assistant U.S. Attorney, Criminal Division, Northern District of Illinois, 1996-2002
Chief Administrator, Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards, 2002-2004
Chief of Staff and General Counsel, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, July 2004-February 2005
Acting First Deputy Procurement Officer, City of Chicago Department of Procurement Services, February 2005-October 2005
President, Chicago Police Board, 2015-2018
Co-chair, Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, 2016
Since assuming office following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities, with early accomplishments including landmark ethics and good governance reforms, worker protection legislation, and closing a record $838 million budget gap, as well as key investments in education, public safety, and financial stability. Mayor Lightfoot also placed Chicago on the path to a $15 minimum wage by 2021.
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In response to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, Mayor Lightfoot has led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to effectively address its spread and broader public impact, including the creation of the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team, the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, among other actions.
Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot most recently served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Previously, she served as President of the Chicago Police Board, as well as the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force.
Mayor Lightfoot also served as Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services, Chief Administrator of the Office of Professional Standards, and the Assistant United States Attorney.
A native of Massillon, Ohio, Mayor Lightfoot has been a resident of Chicago since 1986 and lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.
Committed to social justice and equity
Lori’s upbringing shaped her commitment to social justice and equity. She is the youngest of four children born to Elijah and Ann Lightfoot. Her parents were born in the late 1920s and grew up in the segregated south – Elijah from a tiny Arkansas farming community, in which his father was a sharecropper, and Ann from the hills of Alabama. After migrating to Ohio separately with their families when they were teens, her parents met at an Urban League dance. While raising their first two young children, Lori’s father became gravely ill. He spent almost a year in a coma and awoke with complete hearing loss. Witnessing her father’s struggles with his disability—and the resulting impact on her family—profoundly shaped Lori’s views on social justice and equity.
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Overcoming adversity for family
Despite his hearing loss and limited education, Lori’s father worked at least two, and typically three, jobs to keep the family in stable housing and provide the basics. He worked as a janitor, barber, and handyman to earn money to support the family. Lori’s mother Ann spent her working years in low-paying jobs in mental hospitals and nursing homes and eventually finished her work life as a home health care aide. Throughout Lori’s life, her family faced economic instability and all the obstacles typical for a family living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Nothing short of excellence
The importance of quality education was emphasized by Lori’s parents, especially her mother. Ann Lightfoot constantly pushed Lori to excel and not to use her race, gender, or economic status as an excuse for anything short of excellence. As a result, Lori thrived academically and earned acceptance to the University of Michigan, where she graduated with honors. She paid her own way through college with loans and a series of work-study jobs. In the summers, Lori returned to her hometown and held CEDA and factory jobs to pay for college.
Making a life in Chicago
After college, Lori worked as a legislative aide for two years in Washington, D.C. She received a full scholarship to the University of Chicago Law School and moved to Hyde Park. With the exception of a one-year clerkship on the Michigan Supreme Court in Detroit, Lori has lived in Chicago since 1986.
Lori and her spouse, Amy Eshleman, live on the near northwest side with their 10-year-old daughter.
About Lori Lightfoot
Since assuming office following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities.
Mayor Lightfoot has led the city through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic with tough, fair leadership – all while keeping campaign promises. In the last year alone, Mayor Lightfoot:
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Increased Chicago’s minimum wage to $15 an hour for hundreds of thousands of workers.
Championed the creation of a new civilian police oversight body, advancing Chicago on a path toward police reform.
Passed transformative, unprecedented budgets, including historical investments in mental health care, public safety and environmental justice.
Forged a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with a particular focus on the communities most devastated by the virus.
Hit an all-time venture capital funding record, with $7.9 billion in 2021 alone.
Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Before that, she was President of the Chicago Police Board and Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force. In addition to other prominent roles in the city, Mayor Lightfoot also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
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She is a native of Massillon, Ohio, and has been a resident of Chicago since 1986. She currently lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.
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