CHICAGO — It’s official: Mayor Lori Lightfoot is running for reelection.
Lightfoot has made it clear in recent months that she’s running again, bringing in more than $2 million in campaign cash, but on Tuesday she formally announced her bid for a second term, embracing her “tough” persona in a newly-released campaign video.
The video opens with Lightfoot responding to a series of news snippets that paint her as unapologetic and hardbitten: “They say I’m tough. … They say I get angry. … They say sometimes, I take things personally. … You know what I say? … They’re absolutely right.”
“When we fight for change, confront a global pandemic, work to keep kids in school, take on guns and gangs, systemic inequality and political corruption only to have powerful forces try and stop progress for Chicago — of course I take it personally, for our city,” Lightfoot said.
She goes on, saying, “Change doesn’t happen without a fight. It’s hard. It takes time. And, I’ll be the first to admit I’m just not the most patient person. I’m only human, and I guess sometimes it shows. But just because some may not always like my delivery doesn’t mean we’re not delivering.”
Lightfoot’s brash leadership style has dogged her during her first term in office. She’s battled with both the police and teachers unions and has opted to go it alone on major political decisions, shutting out some alderpeople from the governing process.
But in the video and accompanying news release, Lightfoot said she’s “led city through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic with tough, fair leadership.”
She touted the city’s vaccine distribution program, investment in community-based violence prevention and affordable housing as just a few major accomplishments.
Lightfoot, who is Chicago’s first openly gay Black mayor, said while she doesn’t “look or sound like any other mayor we’ve ever had before,” she’s “had to fight to get a seat at the table.”
“And, like so many in our city, I’ve had to fight to have my voice heard. That’s why I’ll never back down from fighting every day to turn your voice into action,” she said.
Lightfoot faces five challengers in the 2023 election: Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), State Rep. Kam Buckner, businessman Willie Wilson and former Chicago Public School CEO Paul Vallas.
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: