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Lori Lightfoot Departs City Hall for the Last Time as Mayor

Lightfoot will remain in office until Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson is officially sworn in on Monday morning.

NBC Universal, Inc.

There were bagpipes, confetti cannons and a classic 1940 maroon Cadillac at a City Hall goodbye for outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday.

Crowds erupted in applause as Lightfoot left the building on her last full work day, capping off her four-year tenure. The mayor, surrounded by dozens, if not a hundred people or more, walked through the lobby to the main entrance. With her wife, Amy Eshelman, at her side, Lightfoot waved to the assembled crowd of staff, well-wishers and passersby who came to see her leave her fifth floor office and the neoclassical building one final time.

"It was sad, I was just telling my friends that I feel some kind of way with this," said Chicago resident Tabatha Miles.

Miles, who is from the city's South Side, told NBC 5 that she believes Lightfoot made many positive changes to the city and is disappointed she wasn't re-elected for another term.

"I was pretty impressed with the way she turned somethings around as far as the those parts of the town," she said.

The first Black woman and first openly gay person to serve as mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot was elected in 2019. In February, she failed to get enough votes to move to April's runoff election, becoming the first sitting mayor to lose re-election in 40 years.

The outgoing mayor faced heavy criticism at times, often because of the city's crime rate.

Dick Simpson, a Chicago alderman who is authoring a book about Chicago's mayors, said Lightfoot's image of being combative and the public safety issue were central.

"...Everyone feels frightened by the crime level in Chicago, unhappy with crime. Even though she tried with several superintendents and several strategies they were unable to bring it under control," he said.

In her farewell address on Monday, Lightfoot called the last four years an incredible journey and said her administration "has been victorious in our efforts to plant seeds of equity and serve this city we all love, so much."

Lightfoot will remain in office until Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson is officially sworn in on Monday morning.

"I want to see this crime get under control and I hope Brandon can bring us all together," Miles said.

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