Meeting of the mayors: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Brandon Johnson begin transition of power Thursday

New Chicago mayor wants to bring unity

Thursday, April 6, 2023
Meeting of the mayors: Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Brandon Johnson begin transition of power Thursday
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson headed to City Hall to meet with Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson began the transition from candidate to occupant of the 5th floor at City Hall Thursday in a meeting of the mayors.

He held a private meeting with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and then talked about plans for the transfer of power.

It was their first official meeting with Johnson's first official trip to the office that he will occupy for the next four years since winning the election Tuesday night.

SEE ALSO: Chicago mayoral election results: Brandon Johnson elected next mayor as Paul Vallas concedes

Lightfoot cordially greeted the candidate, who will now replace her.

Johnson and Lightfoot were political rivals for months as they both competed in the race for mayor. Lightfoot lost her chance at a second term when she finished third on Feb. 28.

"What I want to see is that everyone gets to participate; I'm looking to unite and bring people together. The type of divisive nature that has separated our communities in a way that has left us incredibly damaged, we're gonna put an end to that," Johnson said.

The two met privately for nearly 90 minutes, which Johnson called an incredible experience.

"She is definitely committed to making sure that this city is united and that her recognition -- that there's still work to be done," Johnson said.

For Johnson, there is much to do between now and his inauguration on May 15, when he will take over as mayor, overseeing a $16 billion budget and 30,000 city employees.

"They are prepared to leave us with the macro-aspect of transition, but also there are micro-dynamics that play a part in governance," Johnson said. "Her and her entire team have worked tirelessly to make sure that the transition is smooth."

Since his victory Tuesday night, Johnson has been busy, including a series of calls with leaders in the business community.

Johnson's plan for an $800 million tax hike, which includes reinstituting a corporate head tax and increasing the city hotel tax, which has corporations leery.

"Now, I think it comes down to governing and we all know that both campaigning and governing can be a little different," said Rob Karr, president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. "And we look forward to the discussions and hearing more concretely what his plans and priorities are and engaging with him on where we agree."

The meeting was originally scheduled to last about 45 minutes and it went twice that long. Johnson was asked if they were any apologies exchanged from what happened during the campaign but he said they did not talk about the campaign because it's over, adding that they're focused on the future.

Johnson's win captured the attention of many, including President Joe Biden.

According to the White House, he called Johnson to congratulate him on his victory.

Johnson spoke to the media after the meeting.

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson spoke Thursday after his 1st meeting with Mayor Lightfoot.