Chicago's Next Mayor Says Fate Of Illinois Is Tied To Chicago

Apr 10, 2019

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is beginning to lobby for her agenda in Springfield.

After private meetings with Gov. J.B. Pritzker and House Speaker Michael Madigan, Lightfoot on Wednesday delivered a short speech to members of the Illinois House. She said she hopes to forge a strong working relationship.

It’s not always easy-going for the Chicago mayor. On issues like guns and taxes, Republicans and even Downstate Democrats sometimes frame policy disagreements as Chicago versus the rest of Illinois.

But Lightfoot brushes aside that sort of rhetoric.

“The state of Illinois’ fate has a lot to do with the future of Chicago and vice versa,” Lightfoot said. “I look forward to a governor who recognizes that supporting Chicago, particularly economically, inures to the benefit of the entire state.”

Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters after addressing the Illinois House of Representatives in the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

She also had a short message for the handful of legislators who've proposed separating Chicago and the rest of Illinois into two states: “Good luck.”

Many of Chicago’s problems are rooted in its troubled finances. While Lightfoot says she’ll need Springfield’s help to fix the city’s budget, she’s not yet asking for anything specific.

“A lot of the powers that we can tap into flow from Springfield, so when we think about what our menu of solutions are, obviously Springfield looms large,” Lightfoot said.“We’ll make sure that we’ll come up with solutions that we can get through the General Assembly with the help of the governor and the leaders.”

Lightfoot's agenda also includes ending cash bond, an elected school board for Chicago, and a graduated state income tax. Because all that flows through Springfield, she said she’s not waiting until she’s sworn in next month to get involved with the General Assembly.

After her House speech, lawmakers from both parties lined up to congratulate Lightfoot and pose for photos. The mayor-elect is scheduled to address the state Senate on Thursday morning.