Who "are" the mayoral candidates: Tonight hear them


Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle

Yes, either Lori Lightfoot or Toni Preckwinkle will be the first African American female mayor since Chicago became a city in 1837. But, who are they? 

You can hear them on CBS Chicago tonight at 6 p.m., as they have their last TV face-off before election day, April 2nd. 



Lori Lightfoot

Lightfoot, 56, is from Massillon, OH. Her parents worked hard to raise three children, Lori being the youngest. Her mother Ann, now 90, worked in an overnight shift as a nurse's aide while her dad, Eli, worked at local factories as a janitor. 

“My father was super intelligent,” Lightfoot’s brother Brian Lightfoot told WTTW. “I can only imagine the level that he would excel if he didn’t lose his hearing.” Eli lost his hearing as a result of meningitis, dashing his dream to become a lawyer. 

They lived not on the southeast side of their small segregated city "where realtors were wanting most blacks to go," explains Ann Lightfoot. “I wanted to let my children have a mixture of friends; there were only two black children in Lori’s school for a long time.” 

A participant in many extra-curricular activities, Lori Lightfoot did well in academics, graduating from the University of Michigan. 

Her next stop was Washington, D.C., where she had her first encounter with working in government. She worked for her congressman before moving to Chicago to begin her pursuit of a law degree at the University of Chicago. 

Her political/civic background, as submitted to the Sun-Times is

  • Chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force (PATF)
  • President of the Chicago Police Board
  • Interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services
  • Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC)
  • Chief Administrator, the Office of Professional Standards, Chicago Police Department
  • Assistant United States Attorney in the criminal division
  • Served on the boards of numerous progressive and pro-choice organizations like NARAL Illinois, Better Government Association, ACLU Illinois, the Center for Conflict Resolution, the Center for Wrongful Conviction, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Chicago, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform
  • Member of the American Constitution Society’s Board of Advisors. I received the Victory Fund’s Debra Shore Leadership Award in 2017.
  • Her occupation: Attorney. Until May 2018, I was a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP, where I also served as the co-chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
  • Her education: B.A., University of Michigan, with honors; J.D., University of Chicago (full academic scholarship)
  • Campaign website: https://lightfootforchicago.com/
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/LightfootForChi
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LightfootForChicago 

    Toni Preckwinkle

Toni Lynn Reed Preckwinkle, 72, grew up in a North End neighborhood of St. Paul, MN, where her family was a minority in a predominately white area. She was the eldest of four and the protector of all, according to her brother Jan Reed in a WTTW interview

One day he was being bullied and she was being restrained but she  broke loose and ran home to get their mother. When their mother returned to the scene, she spanked one of the bullies. 

Later in the evening, the police went to the Reed home, threatening their mother with arrest if she ever did that again. 

Their mother, Beatrice, worked for the St. Paul Library and father, Samuel, a WWII veteran, worked for the Veterans Association (VA). They were both graduates of the University of Minnesota. 

Toni excelled in sports and academics in high school then went on to the University of Chicago where she did her undergrad and graduate work. 

She went on to be a high school history teacher for about ten years before moving into the not-for-profit world. Her venture into politics began in 1983 when she challenged Timothy Evans for the 4th Ward Aldermanic seat. 

In 1985, Preckwinkle joined the Department of Economic Development under the Harold Washington administration. Her interest in being alderman surfaced again in 1983 in a repeat race against Evans. However in 1991, she garnered 109 votes than Evans. 

Her political/civic background, as submitted to the Sun-Times is 

  • 4th Ward Alderman (1991-2010)
  • Democratic Committeeman (1992-Present)
  • Executive Vice Chair of Cook County Democratic Party (2010)
  • Cook County Board President (2010-Present)
  • Her occupation: Cook County Board President
  • Her education: University of Chicago, BA, MA
  • Campaign website: https://toniforchicago.com/
  • Twitter: @toniforchicago
  • Facebook: facebook.com/ToniforChicago/ 

Campaign coverage

CBS Chicago Voter Guide with Issues and Wed. Mar. 27 Forum 

The WGN debate was on Mon., Mar. 25 

WTTW Forum was on Thurs., Mar. 21 

ABC Chicago Forum was on Wed., Mar. 20 

NBC Chicago Forum was on Thurs., Mar. 7 

Sun-Times endorsement, Mar.19 

Chicago Tribune's Election Guide 

Chicago Tribune editorial endorsement session



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