Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot vows to make changes at City Hall, pushes back on elected school board bill

Craig Wall Image
ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Saturday, April 6, 2019
EMBED <>More Videos

Chicago's mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot sat down with ABC7's Craig Wall.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is gearing up for her new job and is preparing to knock heads with the City Council if needed.

Lightfoot accused Alderman Ed Burke of trying to organize the council against her. But she is vowing to bring change to city hall whether aldermen like it or not.

"I'm going to make good on the promises that we made during the course of the campaign about opening up city government and getting rid of all the vestiges of the machine," Lightfoot said.

WATCH: Full interview with Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot

Sitting down for her first one-on-one interview, Lightfoot vowed to rid City Hall of all the vestiges of the "machine," indicating she's prepared to do battle with those standing in the way of her election night mandate for change.

"That's going to ruffle some feathers to be sure, particularly the old guard members of the City Council," Lightfoot said. "But get ready for it."

She is also extending an olive branch to new members, including the new democratic socialists.

"I'm going to look to form relationships with all of them. Where we could partner we will, where we disagree that's what democracy is all about," Lightfoot said.

Next week Lightfoot will head to Springfield to get to know lawmakers. And while she campaigned in support of an elected school board, she does not support the bill that just passed the House.

"Changing one broken system for another flawed one doesn't make any sense to me. We are looking at different options and models but I don't support a 21-member board, that's completely unwieldy," the new mayor-elect said.

After meeting with Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson this week, Lightfoot vowed to keep him on through the summer. She also said she supports Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, despite her handling of the Jussie Smollett case.

"Of course she's ruffled some feathers because change is difficult for people. I know that, I'm expecting pushback as well, but I do support her. I think she's brought a breath of fresh air to that office," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot said if the judge's gag order in the Laquan McDonald case has not been lifted by the time she takes office May 20, she will fight to get thousands of pages from the 2016 Inspector General's report released to the public.

"I will make sure that our lawyer is going to court and get that lifted. The truth needs to come out, transparency is critically important, something I value as an absolute essential part of the government and those reports are coming out," Lightfoot said.

As for plans to deal with the pension debt, Lightfoot said she has met with the mayor's finance team. And while she did not rule out raising property taxes, she says that's not a first option.