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Chicago Voters React To Election Of Lori Lightfoot As City's Mayor


Last night in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot made history.


LORI LIGHTFOOT: Every child out there should know this. Each of you one day can be the mayor of Chicago.


SHAPIRO: Lightfoot ran an outsider campaign, rose to the top of a crowded 14-candidate field and finally yesterday won a runoff election. She becomes the first black woman and the first openly gay person ever elected mayor in Chicago.


In her acceptance speech, Lightfoot pledged to take on gun violence, fight corruption and to improve the lives of people in the city's poorest neighborhoods.


LIGHTFOOT: Together we can and will make Chicago a place where your ZIP code doesn't determine your destiny.


CORNISH: Lightfoot's message resonated with Chicagoans in many ZIP codes.

SHAPIRO: Sam Ross lives on the city's South Side.

SAM ROSS: From my perspective on the South Side or, you know, out west, I see, like, a lot of issues that's always been ongoing and never really solved. And I think she might be able to tackle some of those issues.

SHAPIRO: He likes Lightfoot's focus on poverty and crime.

CORNISH: For another voter, Harrington Brown III, it was police accountability. He said Chicago's police department isn't respected in any black or brown community. Before Lightfoot ran for mayor, she headed a police accountability task force created after a Chicago police officer was charged with murder in Laquan McDonald's killing.

HARRINGTON BROWN III: One of things I voted for her was because she's actually - had been involved in seeing justice applied for those who didn't get justice at all.

SHAPIRO: Another voter, Joshua Kaufman, says he liked Lightfoot's progressive politics and hopes she will shake up the system.

JOSHUA KAUFMAN: I'm more excited about the fact that she's an outsider, somebody who's not a part of the political Chicago machine, somebody who has never been elected, you know, to public office before.

SHAPIRO: Others were more skeptical.

CORNISH: Vivian Toliver said she had a hard time choosing between Lightfoot and her runoff opponent, Toni Preckwinkle.

VIVIAN TOLIVER: And frankly, it was a eeny, meeny, miny, moe thing because they were both women. And they were both black. And it was just great, the whole thing.

CORNISH: But Toliver wasn't optimistic that would translate into actual change.

TOLIVER: As for what it means for Chicago, honestly - nothing because everybody makes the same claims about how they're going to stop the corruption. They're going to clean this up. They're going to do taxes. They're going to do cops. They're going to improve the schools. And where is all this money coming from? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.