Mayor Lori Lightfoot lays groundwork for reelection bid amid concerns over possible casino deal

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot appeared very much like a candidate Tuesday at a luncheon with business leaders, whose support she wants and needs for a second term.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to make a very important announcement," Lightfoot said. "We are poised to have the best economic recovery of any big city in the country bar none."

That announcement was just a tease about her reelection plans, but her speech laid the groundwork for one to come soon.

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The mayor highlighted many positives for the city during her first term, avoiding saying much about crime. She denied her speech was a reelection rehearsal, but she did have her campaign photographer on hand to document the day.

"So, it's really important for me, as the mayor, as the advocate-in-chief for this our city, to preach the gospel about what is going well in our city," Lightfoot said.

The mayor said she is confident that a casino deal can be worked out despite opposition from the aldermen whose wards would be home to Hard Rock Chicago near Solider Field and Rivers 78 along the south branch of the Chicago River.

The jury still out on the third, Bally's Tribune, in Walter Burnett's ward, despite community concerns about traffic. Casino revenue has been earmarked to pay police and fire pension debt to prevent a major property tax hike.

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"I'd rather have a casino, have some traffic than have some people in my ward moving out of their houses because they can't afford their property taxes," said Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. of the 27th Ward.

As for her reelection bid, Lightfoot would only say the announcement is coming soon.

"And like any good gardener, when you plant the seeds, you till the soil, you watch the shoots rise up from the garden you want to be there to reap the harvest. So soon is soon," Lightfoot said.
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