About Lori Lightfoot
Since assuming office following her historic election, Mayor Lightfoot has undertaken an ambitious agenda of expanding opportunity and inclusive economic growth across Chicago’s neighborhoods and communities.
Mayor Lightfoot has led the city through the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic with tough, fair leadership – all while keeping campaign promises. In the last year alone, Mayor Lightfoot:
- Increased Chicago’s minimum wage to $15 an hour for hundreds of thousands of workers.
- Championed the creation of a new civilian police oversight body, advancing Chicago on a path toward police reform.
- Passed transformative, unprecedented budgets, including historical investments in mental health care, public safety and environmental justice.
- Forged a massive COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with a particular focus on the communities most devastated by the virus.
- Hit an all time venture capital funding record, with $7.9 billion in 2021 alone.
Prior to her election, Mayor Lightfoot served as senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown. Before that, she was President of the Chicago Police Board and Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force. In addition to other prominent roles in the city, Mayor Lightfoot also served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
She is a native of Massillon, Ohio and has been a resident of Chicago since 1986. She currently lives on the Near Northwest Side with her wife Amy Eshleman and their daughter.
Lori’s upbringing shaped her commitment to social justice and equity. She is the youngest of four children born to Elijah and Ann Lightfoot. Her parents were born in the late 1920s and grew up in the segregated south – Elijah from a tiny Arkansas farming community, in which his father was a sharecropper, and Ann from the hills of Alabama. After migrating to Ohio separately with their families when they were teens, her parents met at an Urban League dance. While raising their first two young children, Lori’s father became gravely ill. He spent almost a year in a coma and awoke with complete hearing loss. Witnessing her father’s struggles with his disability—and the resulting impact on her family—profoundly shaped Lori’s views on social justice and equity.
Overcoming adversity for family
Despite his hearing loss and limited education, Lori’s father worked at least two, and typically three, jobs to keep the family in stable housing and provide the basics. He worked as a janitor, barber, and handyman to earn money to support the family. Lori’s mother Ann spent her working years in low-paying jobs in mental hospitals and nursing homes, and eventually finished her work life as a home health care aide. Throughout Lori’s life, her family faced economic instability and all the obstacles typical for a family living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Nothing short of excellence
The importance of a quality education was emphasized by Lori’s parents, especially her mother. Ann Lightfoot constantly pushed Lori to excel and not to use her race, gender, or economic status as an excuse for anything short of excellence. As a result, Lori thrived academically and earned acceptance to the University of Michigan, where she graduated with honors. She paid her own way through college with loans and a series of work-study jobs. In the summers, Lori returned to her hometown and held CEDA and factory jobs to pay for college.
Making a life in Chicago
After college, Lori worked as a legislative aide for two years in Washington, D.C. She received a full scholarship to the University of Chicago Law School and moved to Hyde Park. With the exception of a one-year clerkship on the Michigan Supreme Court in Detroit, Lori has lived in Chicago since 1986.
Lori and her spouse, Amy Eshleman, live on the near northwest side with their 10-year-old daughter.
Paid for by Lightfoot for Chicago.