CHICAGO — The countdown is on as Lori Lightfoot prepares to formally begin her term as the next Mayor of Chicago following an inauguration ceremony at the Wintrust Arena Monday morning.
A self-described “person of faith," the 56-year-old mayor-elect started Sunday at a church service on the West Side, joined by family members including her mother, siblings and cousins.
“I, too, will not be on this journey by myself; I need all of you,” Lightfoot said, addressing the congregation.
After church, Lightfoot participated in a rehearsal of the swearing-in ceremony in the South Loop. Chicago police are also preparing to secure the Wintrust Arena for the event, which is scheduled to begin around 10:30 a.m. Monday.
“I’ve been feeling the moment since the night of April 2, and preparing for what that’s going to look like," Lightfoot said. “I’m fortunate to have a really great and able team, we had a tremendous transition process that culminated on Friday, so I’ve been getting a lot of support from people all across the city."
Lightfoot has already made history, becoming the first black woman and first openly LGBTQ+ person elected to the office. She’ll also assume the office with a resounding mandate after winning 74 percent of the vote and a majority in every ward.
After running on a message of good government and transparency, Lightfoot has outlined several tough tasks. To take on corruption in city hall, she plans to reduce the number of city council committees, introduce term-limits for committee chairs, ban council members from having outside jobs, and weaken so-called "aldermanic prerogative," which allowed council members to control development in their own wards.
“We stood by what we said, and we ran on that we were going to shake up City Council to make it much more reflective and responsive," Lightfoot said.
Major union contracts will also be need to be renegotiated in short order, including the Chicago Teachers Union.
“We’ll be fair to our teachers, but my primary focus is on making sure that our kids are getting the kind of quality education – in every neighborhood – that they deserve,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot says her inauguration will mark a moment of transformation, and she’s ready to become the 56th Mayor of Chicago.
“I absolutely feel ready, I’m anxious to start,” Lightfoot said.