Lori Lightfoot Biography

(56th Mayor of Chicago)

Birthday: August 4, 1962 (Leo)

Born In: Massillon, Ohio, United States

Lori Lightfoot is an attorney turned politician currently serving as the 56th mayor of Chicago, in office since 2019. Prior to becoming mayor, she had a successful legal career and also held various government positions. She is openly lesbian and is the first black woman from the LGBTQIA+ community to be elected mayor of a major city in the United States. Brilliant from a young age, she studied political science at the University of Michigan. However, she wasn’t happy with the career opportunities she received and decided to study law. She received a full scholarship to study at the University of Chicago Law School and embarked on a successful legal career after graduation. In the ensuing years, she held several government positions, including a stint as president of the Chicago Police Board. She ran for mayor of Chicago in February 2019 and officially took office on May 20, 2019. As mayor, she has undertaken several ambitious projects to control gun violence, reduce racial tension, and curb corruption in Chicago. She is also actively involved in fighting violence committed by white male police officers against minority communities. She is a recipient of the NMQF Honorable John Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Lori Elaine Lightfoot

Age: 61 Years, 61 Year Old Females


Spouse/Ex-: Amy Eshleman

father: Elijah Lightfoot

mother: Ann Lightfoot

Born Country: United States

Black Leaders Political Leaders

Grouping of People: Lesbian

U.S. State: Ohio, African-American From Ohio

More Facts

education: University Of Michigan, University of Chicago

Childhood & Early Life

Lori Elaine Lightfoot was born on August 4, 1962, in Massillon, Ohio, the United States, to Ann Lightfoot and Elijah. She has three elder siblings. Her mother was a night-time healthcare aide and her father was a local factory worker and janitor.

She went to Washington High School in Massillon. She was a good student and participated in many extra-curricular activities. She played basketball, volleyball, and softball and was also in the school’s musical band. She was popular and smart and was made the high school class president three times.

She studied political science at the University of Michigan and graduated with honors in 1984. She worked numerous odd jobs while studying so that she could pay for her education. She spent some time working for Congress members Ralph Regula and Barbara Mikulski, following which she decided to study law.

She received a scholarship to study at the University of Chicago Law School. She was made president of the University of Chicago Law School's student body. In this position, she led a movement to ban a law firm from campus after the firm’s recruiter made racist and sexist remarks towards a student. She earned her Juris Doctor degree in 1989.

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Lori Lightfoot became a practicing attorney at the Mayer Brown law firm and built a successful legal career. She eventually became the Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

She collaborated with the FBI and assisted with Operation Silver Shovel, an endeavor to curb corruption in Chicago. She played a role in the conviction of alderman Virgil Jones.

She became chief administrator of the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards in 2002. She investigated possible cases of police misconduct, including police shootings of civilians.

In 2004, she began working in the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications. She was later hired to work at the Chicago Department of Procurement Services. Along with her superior, Mary Dempsey, she investigated Chicago's corruption. Meanwhile, she continued to have a successful private practice as well.

In 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her as president of the Chicago Police Board, replacing 19-year incumbent Demetrius Carney. In this position, she continued her crusade against police misconduct.

She was eventually appointed as chair of a special Police Accountability Task Force as well. However, her work was criticized by the anti-police brutality activist organization Black Youth Project 100.

In 2018, Lori Lightfoot resigned from the Police Board and announced her mayoral campaign. She challenged the two-term incumbent Emanuel in the mayoral elections. However, Emanuel soon dropped out of the race and Lightfoot advanced to a runoff election against fellow black woman politician, Toni Preckwinkle.

Lori Lightfoot won the runoff election in April 2019 and took office as Mayor of Chicago on May 20, 2019. Upon taking office, she became the first black female Chicago mayor and the first openly LGBTQAI+ Chicago mayor.

In October 2019, she announced her intention to provide affordable housing to the citizens and created a task force consisting of 20 members to begin work on the project. She implicated systemic racism as a major issue when it came to housing affordability. The project was severely hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She appointed former City Clerk of Chicago Miguel del Valle as president of the Chicago Board of Education (the school board of Chicago Public Schools) in 2019. She also made the announcement that Janice K. Jackson, incumbent CEO of Chicago Public Schools, would retain her position. Pedro Martinez became the CEO of Chicago Public Schools in 2021.

Determined to curb the rising rate of crime in Chicago, she launched a community policing initiative. She also proposed an ordinance to create a new Office of Public Safety Administration. 

She campaigned as a police reformer during the 2020 Black Lives Matter (BLM) anti-police violence protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd. She claimed that police unions are one of the main obstacles to reforming the police department. She asked the public to report police misconduct whenever they encountered it. 

Major Works

Lori Lightfoot is best known for the measures she implemented to minimize the severity of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago. She enforced strict lockdown rules, banned events attended by more than 1,000 people, and urged everyone to get vaccinated. She also created the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force and the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.


Lori Lightfoot has a few detractors. Her administration has been criticized for the poor handling of public safety issues. She has however claimed that she is mostly criticized not because of her policies but because of her gender and race. 

Family & Personal Life

Lori Lightfoot is openly lesbian. She married Amy Eshleman, a former Chicago Public Library employee, on May 31, 2014. The couple adopted a little girl named Vivian.

She is a devout Christian and is a member of St. James AME Zion Church. She is also a Founding Trustee at Christ the King Jesuit High School in Chicago.

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