Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is just days away from her official swearing-in ceremony, and she’s in Washington D.C. meeting with political leaders and trying to make a good first impression in the nation’s capital.
Lightfoot, spending her second day in Washington on Wednesday, focused her efforts on raising awareness, and exploring the idea of raising money, for transportation needs in the city.
“I feel optimistic we’re going to work on common points of connection,” she said. “I think they’re interested in trying to be helpful.”
Lightfoot spent time at the White House on Wednesday, discussing her transportation wishlist with the Trump administration.
“They’ve been in and out of Chicago, and it’s clear to me that they know things about people and organizations in Chicago on a granular level,” she said.
The mayor-elect is already making an impression on Chicago’s Congressional delegation, including Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who chose not to run for mayor in the 2019 race.
Garcia said he would advocate for Lightfoot, and has no qualms about how the race shook out.
“She is taking over at a very difficult time,” he said. “She needs money for infrastructure, and she really wants to make a difference in the neighborhoods.”
“My goal is to be a cheerleader for the city of Chicago,” Lightfoot said. “I want to bring attention to things that are working well and to seek resources for the challenges that we have so we can bring a better quality of life to people in the city.”
Not every member of the Congressional delegation has met with Lightfoot during her visit. Just days before the April election, Congresman Bobby Rush said those who supported Lightfoot would have “blood on their hands” because he considers her pro-police.
The two politicians briefly crossed paths in the halls of Congress Wednesday, as Lightfoot left a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“We were walking out as he was walking in,” Lightfoot said. “I want to make sure I focus on moving Chicago forward. The election is over. Our city has a lot of wounds that it needs to heal, and I want to do everything I can to be true to the mandate I was given in the election.”
Rep. Rush was asked if he felt he should apologize to Lightfoot, and he declined to do so.
“The campaign is over,” he said. “Campaigns are known for having language and rhetoric. We’re not permanent enemies, and we have permanent interests, I hope.”
Lightfoot will attend a fundraiser at a government affairs group on Wednesday evening, and will meet with Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth on Thursday.