History Made: Lori Lightfoot Sworn In As Chicago's 56th Mayor, Gives Inaugural Address

May 20, 2019 - 1:56 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) --  Lori Lightfoot was sworn into office Monday morning as Chicago's 56th mayor. 

Lightfoot becomes Chicago's first African-American, female mayor, as well as the city's first openly-LGBTQ mayor. 

"I stand here as your mayor, humble and hopeful, honored to be the 56th mayor in the history of this great city. We are a proud city with a proud history," Mayor Lightfoot said.

"I’m looking ahead to a city of safe streets and strong schools for every child regardless of neighborhood or zip code. A city where people want to grow old and not flee. A city of sanctuary against fear where no one must hide in the shadows. A city that is affordable for families and seniors and where every job pays a living wage. A city of fairness and hope and prosperity for the many, not just for the few, a city that holds equity and inclusion as our guiding principles."

Related: READ: Mayor Lori Lightfoot's Inaugural Address

During her inaugural address, Lightfoot took a moment to recognize the history being made with not only her being elected, but Anna Valencia and Melissa Conyears-Ervin as well.

As I stand here today, I can’t help but think of where I came from—and I know, in my heart, that a story like mine, of a kid from a working class family growing up to realize the dreams of my father and mother through education, hard work, and sheer determination needs to be the story of possibility in every neighborhood...I know we’re just a little bit closer to that dream as I stand here today, inaugurated as Chicago’s first Black woman and first openly gay mayor. I know we’re a little bit closer as we celebrate that, for the first time in the history of Chicago, women of color now hold all three of our city-wide elected offices.

"I congratulate you, City Clerk Anna Valencia and City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, on your inaugurations, your victories, and on all you’ve overcome to reach this historic moment," Mayor Lightfoot said. 

Lightfoot went on to thank Rahm Emanuel "for his dedication and service to our city, which was exemplified by the attention and time that he and his staff devoted to making this transition as smooth as possible" as well as the other leaders in attendance including Governor JB Pritzker, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, Senator Dick Durbin, Senator Tammy Duckworth, the Illinois congressional delegation, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and representatives from the state legislature.

"Most importantly, thank you to the people of Chicago, who had the courage to put their faith in a newcomer and the optimism to join this moment," she said.

And before the thank yous were over, there was one person that she especially had to thank - her mother.

"Now there’s one person you are about to meet who laid the foundation for everything that I am today...She’s my role model, my champion. The woman whose dreams and high expectations for me propelled me through life, my mother, Ann Lightfoot," she said, while shedding tears. 

The new mayor went on to say her administraion will be based on the four stars of the Chicago flag - safety, schooling, stability, and integrity.

"There are four stars on Chicago’s flag, each standing for a point in our history - the construction of Fort Dearborn, the great expositions of 1893 and 1933, and the reconstruction of our city following the Great Chicago Fire. Each star stands for building and rebuilding. Today, we proudly reinterpret these four stars new meaning for a new century, with new challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, guiding our city and guiding our new administration, as we move forward and rebuild again," she said.

Lightfoot announced her first official act as mayor will be signing an executive order to city departments that they end the practice of giving aldermen prerogative over such things as licensing, zoning and permitting in their wards.

"This does not mean our Aldermen won’t have power in their communities. It does not mean our Aldermen won’t be able to make sure the streetlights are working, or the parking signs are in the right place, or any of the thousands of good things they do for people every day. It simply means ending their unilateral, unchecked control over on every single thing that goes on their wards.

"Alderman will have a voice, not a veto," she said.

Near the end of her address, Lightfoot said, "Our challenges are great. There’s no mistaking that. But if we follow these four stars - safety, schooling, stability, and integrity - we can once again become a city that families want to move to, not run away from.

"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter your circumstance in life, Chicago is now on a mission to include you, to join hands with you, to share power with you, and to give you reason to believe that we can all pull in the same direction to make Chicago, better, together."

She concluded with "God bless you. And God bless Chicago."