Lightfoot Says Goodbye, Claiming Credit for ‘Breaking the Status Quo’ and ‘Planting Seeds’ | Chicago news

Lightfoot Farewell Address 050823

Video: Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers a farewell address on May 8, 2023. During part of the speech, she became emotional. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in a formal farewell to the city that denied her a second term, said Monday that she was elected four years ago to “break the status quo” and claimed credit for doing so, despite having been “on his knees”. due to the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest and increased crime.

“The mandate I was given four years ago was to break the status quo that has failed our residents for too long and chart a new path,” Lightfoot said. “And that’s what we did.”

Lightfoot spoke for about 30 minutes to a friendly crowd of city employees, appointees and a handful of City Council members at Austin headquarters under construction. Build Chicagoan organization for the prevention of violence and youth development.

Lightfoot seemed to acknowledge that she ends her one term as mayor with work unfinished. At various points, he claimed credit not for achievements, but for “planting seeds” that will lead to the transformation of the city into a more equitable place to live.

Lightfoot will step down in exactly one week, after finishing third in the first round of voting and failing to advance to the second round, the first time in 40 years that a Chicago mayor has come up short in a bid for the re-election

Lightfoot portrayed her four-year single term as a turning point in Chicago history and said she was proud of her work leading the city through what she called some of its darkest days.

“There were definitely times when the sheer number of challenges stacked on top of each other brought me to my knees,” Lightfoot said. “I got wrapped up in resilience. Resilience that I saw time and time again, all over Chicago.”

Despite Lightfoot’s loss, Monday’s event was designed as a pep rally for Lightfoot and his team. Preceded by a booming drum line ia elegantly produced video who punctuated parts of his inaugural address with upbeat music and news footage that presented the previous four years as the fulfillment of those promises at a time of unimaginable great trial and tribulation.

Lightfoot has often blamed his defeat on the media, and he did so again Monday.

“The pundits and the media have spent a lot of time, energy and ink obsessing over what four-letter word means, ‘Can’t get along with anybody mayor,'” Lightfoot said. “Let me tell you, my friends, the four-letter word that fueled me every day of this unlikely journey.”

Lightfoot was overcome with emotion as he recounted the “desperation” he encountered and took several moments to calm down, bolstered by the cheering crowd, some of whom shouted, “Take your time.”

“That four-letter word was spelled HOPE,” Lightfoot said to loud applause.

Lightfoot used his speech to tell the biblical story of Lazarus, the dead man Jesus brought back to life and his rock-solid faith, and compared his story to what has happened on the west and south sides of Chicago, which have suffered for decades from the crushing. poverty, disinvestment and violent crime.

“We can breathe new life into people and places that have been left for dead,” Lightfoot said. “These are not just words. We proved that time and time again these last four years”.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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