Those texts revealed a mayor with a hands-on management style who repeatedly snapped at critics, colleagues and even political allies. She said one alderman was “full of crap,” told another he was “bush league” and told Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a fellow Democrat, that his administration was being “petty.”
As a gay Black woman who grew up in Ohio and had never before held elective office, Lightfoot stood apart from previous mayors, and her inauguration in 2019 was seen by some as a potential moment of change for the city. She won all 50 City Council wards in the runoff election while decrying corruption and the infamous Chicago political machine. She also vowed to address the racial and economic disparities that have long defined Chicago, where the downtown and North Side have often prospered while disinvestment and violence have plagued many neighborhoods on the South and West Sides.
But Lightfoot’s tenure has been shaped by a series of crises, some within her control, others not. About 800 people were killed in the city last year, the most in a generation. Downtown has struggled to bounce back from the pandemic. And clashes with the unions representing police officers and teachers have proved destabilizing.