Jim Ardis is an American corporate executive and politician, the current mayor of Peoria, since 2005. Prior to becoming mayor, he had served on the Peoria City Council from 1999 through 2005; when Ardis was 10, his father, Jim Ardis, Jr. became a Peoria city councilman, serving from 1969 to 1973. His grandfather, John Bulger, had been Peoria County clerk. Ardis graduated from high school at Spalding Institute in 1977 and from Illinois State University with a bachelor of science in industrial technology in 1982. Ardis owned O'Leary's Restaurant from 1994 to 1997. From 1999 to 2006, Ardis worked in sales for Univar. Since 2010, he has been Executive Director of Corporate Strategies for Peoria-based Axis, Inc. part of Jupiter Strategic Technologies Pvt. Ltd. of Bangalore. Ardis was appointed to the Peoria city liquor commission, he was elected a Peoria city councilman at-large in 1999, remained a member of the council until 2005. Ardis was elected as mayor in 2005, he won re-election in 2009 against General John Parker.
In 2011, Ardis sought appointment to the Illinois State Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Dale Risinger. Darin LaHood received the appointment. On April 15, 2014 at the request of Jim Ardis, Peoria police investigated Jon Daniel, the operator of a Twitter account parodying Ardis, on suspicion of the misdemeanor crime of false personation of a public official. After obtaining a warrant, police sent a SWAT Team to raid Daniel's home in West Bluff, seizing electronics and detaining three people for questioning. Police charged one man with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia following the raid, though no arrests were made in connection with the Twitter account. On April 23, 2014, the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office announced that no charges would be filed against the creator of the original parody account after explaining that current law regarding impersonation of a public official does not include the use of electronic media. On June 11, 2014, through the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Peoria and several city employees, claiming violation of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment.
Ardis responded with a press conference on June 12, in which he said the controversy "caused harm to our great city and serious threats against me and my family" and that "I will protect my rights and the rights of my family at all costs. I am exploring false light and defamation as well as other actions against those responsible for the placing and hosting of the libelous comments."On September 2, 2015, it was announced that the lawsuit was settled with $125,000 being awarded to Daniel. The Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression gave Ardis one of its annual Jefferson Muzzle Awards for "the past year’s most outrageous and ridiculous affronts to free speech and press", declaring that he had "abus the power of his office to intimidate and silence a harmless parodist"
Chicago the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450, it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area referred to as Chicagoland, the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States; the metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area. Located on the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan, Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew in the mid-nineteenth century. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild; the construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, by 1900 Chicago was the fifth largest city in the world.
Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, including new construction styles, the development of the City Beautiful Movement, the steel-framed skyscraper. Chicago is an international hub for finance, commerce, technology, telecommunications, transportation, it is the site of the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade, which today is the largest and most diverse derivatives market gobally, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, the region has the largest number of U. S. highways and greatest amount of railroad freight. In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index; the Chicago area has one of the highest gross domestic products in the world, generating $680 billion in 2017. In addition, the city has one of the world's most diversified and balanced economies, not being dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.
Chicago's 58 million domestic and international visitors in 2018, made it the second most visited city in the nation, behind New York City's approximate 65 million visitors. The city ranked first place in the 2018 Time Out City Life Index, a global quality of life survey of 15,000 people in 32 cities. Landmarks in the city include Millennium Park, Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile, the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum Campus, the Willis Tower, Grant Park, the Museum of Science and Industry, Lincoln Park Zoo. Chicago's culture includes the visual arts, film, comedy and music jazz, soul, hip-hop and electronic dance music including house music. Of the area's many colleges and universities, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago are classified as "highest research" doctoral universities. Chicago has professional sports teams in each of the major professional leagues, including two Major League Baseball teams; the name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the indigenous Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa for a wild relative of the onion, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum and known more as ramps.
The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the eponymous wild "garlic" grew abundantly in the area. According to his diary of late September 1687:...when we arrived at the said place called "Chicagou" which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region. The city has had several nicknames throughout its history such as the Windy City, Chi-Town, Second City, the City of the Big Shoulders, which refers to the city's numerous skyscrapers and high-rises. In the mid-18th century, the area was inhabited by a Native American tribe known as the Potawatomi, who had taken the place of the Miami and Sauk and Fox peoples; the first known non-indigenous permanent settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable. Du Sable arrived in the 1780s, he is known as the "Founder of Chicago".
In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, an area, to be part of Chicago was turned over to the United States for a military post by native tribes in accordance with the Treaty of Greenville. In 1803, the United States Army built Fort Dearborn, destroyed in 1812 in the Battle of Fort Dearborn and rebuilt; the Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes had ceded additional land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis; the Potawatomi were forcibly removed from their land after the Treaty of Chicago in 1833. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was organized with a population of about 200. Within seven years it grew to more than 4,000 people. On June 15, 1835, the first public land sales began with Edmund Dick Taylor as U. S. Receiver of Public Monies; the City of Chicago was incorporated on Saturday, March 4, 1837, for several decades was the world's fastest-growing city. As the site of the Chicago Portage, the city became an important transportation hub between the eastern and western United States.
Chicago's first railway and Chicago Union Railroad, the Illi
Rockford is a city in Winnebago County in the U. S. state of Illinois, in far northern Illinois. Located on the banks of the Rock River, Rockford is the county seat of Winnebago County; the largest city in Illinois outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, Rockford is the third-largest city in the state and the 171st most populous in the United States According to 2010 U. S. Census Data, the City of Rockford had a population of 152,871, with an outlying metropolitan area population of 348,360; the City of Rockford's population is 147,051 as of 2017, down 4.1% since 2010. Settled in the mid-1830s, the position of the city on the Rock River made its location strategic for industrial development. In the second half of the 19th century, Rockford was notable for its output of heavy machinery and tools. During the second half of the 20th century, Rockford struggled alongside many Rust Belt cities. Since the late 1990s, efforts in economic diversification have led to growth of automotive and healthcare industries, as well as the undertaking of various tourism and downtown revitalization efforts.
Nicknamed the Forest City, Rockford is presently known for various venues of cultural or historical significance, including Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum, Tinker Swiss Cottage, the BMO Harris Bank Center, the Coronado Theatre, the Laurent House, the Burpee Museum of Natural History. Its contributions to music are noted in the Mendelssohn Club, the oldest music club in the nation, performers such as Phantom Regiment and Cheap Trick. Rockford traces its roots to 1834, as the combined settlements of Midway were founded on both banks of the Rock River. On the west bank, Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake founded Kentville. With the location of the Rock River equidistant between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, the combined settlement derived the name "Midway". In 1836, Winnebago County was created, with Midway named as its county seat. In 1837, the village of Midway was renamed Rockford, highlighting a rocky river ford across the Rock River in the village; the same year, Rockford established its first post office.
In 1840, the first weekly newspaper began circulation. In 1847, Rockford Female Seminary was founded. In 1852, Rockford was chartered as a city. In 1852, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad connected Rockford to Chicago by railroad. At the time of its founding, many of the village's residents were transplants from the Northeastern United States and upstate New York. Descended from English Puritans, the Midway/Rockford population was similar to much of the rest of northern Illinois and nearly all of Wisconsin during the mid-19th century. After the Black Hawk War, additional immigrants moved to northern Illinois. During the antebellum period, Rockford shared abolitionist leanings, lending considerable support to the Free Soil Party and the Republican Party. In 1848, 42 percent of voters in Winnebago County voted for Martin Van Buren. In 1852, Free Soil candidate John P. Hale became the first presidential candidate to visit Rockford, although he would only receive 28 percent of the vote. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln won 3,985 votes in Winnebago County to the 817 votes of Stephen A. Douglas.
The 1850s brought industry. In 1853, inventor John Henry Manny moved to Rockford to produce horse-drawn mechanical reapers for farmers and transport the finished products by rail. Chicago implement manufacturer Cyrus McCormick took Manny to court after he produced nearly 6,000 machines. Along with production of agricultural machines, Swedish furniture cooperatives established the city as a manufacturing base; the Rockford Union Furniture Company, under John Erlander, spearheaded these cooperatives. Today, Erlander's home is a Rockford museum that shows his efforts in elevating Rockford to second in furniture manufacturing in the nation, behind Grand Rapids. During the Civil War, one of the first Illinois regiments to be mobilized, the Zouaves, were from Rockford; the city served as the site for Camp Fuller, a training site for four other infantry regiments. In 1884, Rockford established its first city-wide public school district, constructing Rockford Central High School in 1885; the Rockford Female Seminary became the alma mater of Jane Addams in 1881.
This move accompanied the Seminary's transition into a more complete curriculum, represented by its renaming to Rockford College in 1892. Culture flourished with the founding of the Mendelssohn Club in 1884, which became the oldest operating music club in the United States; this was complemented by the construction of a Carnegie library in 1902, which became the first building of Rockford's public library system. 1903 saw the dedication of the Winnebago County Veterans Memorial Hall in the presence of sitting President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt returned to Rockford during his campaign in 1912 and again to address the soldiers at Camp Grant, a training site for World War I soldiers; the t
Springfield is the capital of the U. S. state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County. The city's population of 116,250 as of the 2010 U. S. Census makes it the state's sixth most populous city, it is the largest city in central Illinois. As of 2013, the city's population was estimated to have increased to 117,006, with just over 211,700 residents living in the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sangamon County and the adjacent Menard County. Present-day Springfield was settled by European Americans in the late 1810s, around the time Illinois became a state; the most famous historic resident was Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 until 1861, when he went to the White House as President. Major tourist attractions include multiple sites connected with Lincoln including his presidential library and museum, his home, his tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery; the capital is centrally located within the state. The city lies in a plain near the Sangamon River. Lake Springfield, a large artificial lake owned by the City Water, Light & Power company, supplies the city with recreation and drinking water.
Weather is typical for middle latitude locations, with hot summers and cold winters. Spring and summer weather is like that of most midwestern cities. Tornadoes hit the Springfield area in 1957 and 2006; the city governs the Capital Township. The government of the state of Illinois is based in Springfield. State government entities include the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor of Illinois. There are three private high schools in Springfield. Public schools in Springfield are operated by District No. 186. Springfield's economy is dominated by government jobs, plus the related lobbyists and firms that deal with the state and county governments and justice system, health care and medicine. Springfield was named "Calhoun", after Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina; the land that Springfield now occupies was settled first by trappers and fur traders who came to the Sangamon River in 1818. The first cabin was built by John Kelly, it was located at what is now the northwest corner of Jefferson Street.
In 1821, Calhoun was designated as the county seat of Sangamon County due to fertile soil and trading opportunities. Settlers from Kentucky and North Carolina came to the developing city. By 1832, Senator Calhoun had fallen out of the favor with the public and the town renamed itself as Springfield after Springfield, Massachusetts. At that time, the New England city was known for industrial innovation, concentrated prosperity, the Springfield Armory. Kaskaskia was the first capital of the Illinois Territory from its organization in 1809, continuing through statehood in 1818, through the first year as a state in 1819. Vandalia was the second state capital of Illinois from 1819 to 1839. Springfield became the third and current capital of Illinois in 1839; the designation was due to the efforts of Abraham Lincoln and his associates. The Potawatomi Trail of Death passed through here in 1838, as the Native Americans were forced west to Indian Territory by the government's Indian Removal policy. Lincoln arrived in the Springfield area when he was a young man in 1831, though he did not live in the city until 1837.
He spent the ensuing six years in New Salem, where he began his legal studies, joined the state militia and was elected to the Illinois General Assembly. In 1837 Lincoln spent the next 24 years as a lawyer and politician. Lincoln delivered his Lyceum address in Springfield, his farewell speech when he left for Washington is a classic in American oratory. Winkle examines the historiography concerning the development of the Second Party System and applies these ideas to the study of Springfield, a strong Whig enclave in a Democratic region, he chiefly studied poll books for presidential years. The rise of the Whig Party took place in 1836 in opposition to the presidential candidacy of Martin Van Buren and was consolidated in 1840. Springfield Whigs tend to validate several expectations of party characteristics as they were native-born, either in New England or Kentucky, professional or agricultural in occupation, devoted to partisan organization. Abraham Lincoln's career reflects the Whigs' political rise, but by the 1840s, Springfield began to be dominated by Democratic politicians.
Waves of new European immigrants changed the city's demographics and became aligned with the Democrats. By the 1860 presidential election, Lincoln was able to win his home city. Winkle examines the impact of migration on political participation in Springfield during the 1850s. Widespread migration in the 19th-century United States produced frequent population turnover within Midwestern communities, which influenced patterns of voter turnout and office-holding. Examination of the manuscript census, poll books, office-holding records reveals the effects of migration on the behavior and voting patterns of 8,000 participants in 10 elections in Springfield. Most voters were short-term residents who participated in only one or two elections during the 1850s. Fewer than 1% of all voters participated in all 10 elections. Instead of producing political instability, rapid turnover enhanced the influence of the more stable residents. Migration was selective by age, occupation and birthplace. Longer-term or persistent voters, as he terms them, tended to be wealthier, more skilled, more native-born, more stable than non-persisters.
Officeholders were particularly
Elgin is a city in Cook and Kane counties in the northern part of the U. S. state of Illinois. Located 35 mi northwest of Chicago, it lies along the Fox River; as of 2017, the city had an estimated population of 112,456, making it the eighth-largest city in Illinois. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Black Hawk Indian War of 1832 led to the expulsion of the Native Americans who had settlements and burial mounds in the area, set the stage for the founding of Elgin. Thousands of militiamen and soldiers of Gen. Winfield Scott's army marched through the Fox River valley during the war, accounts of the area's fertile soils and flowing springs soon filtered east. In New York, James T. Gifford and his brother Hezekiah Gifford heard tales of this area ripe for settlement, travelled west. Looking for a site on the stagecoach route from Chicago to Galena, they settled on a spot where the Fox River could be bridged. In April 1835, they established the city, naming it after the Scottish tune "Elgin".
Early Elgin achieved fame for the butter and dairy goods it sold to the city of Chicago. Gail Borden established a condensed milk factory here in 1866, the local library was named in his honor; the dairy industry became less important with the arrival of the Elgin Watch Company. The watch factory employed three generations of Elginites from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, when it was the largest producer of fine watches in the United States and the operator of the largest watchmaking complex in the world. Today, the clocks at Chicago's Union Station still bear the Elgin name. Elgin has a long tradition of invention. Elgin is home to the Elgin Academy, the oldest coeducational, non-sectarian college preparatory school west of the Allegheny Mountains. Elgin High School boasts five Navy admirals, a Nobel Prize winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Tony Award winner, two Academy Award–winning producers, Olympic athletes and a General Motors CEO among its alumni. Elgin resident John Murphy invented the motorized streetsweeper in 1914 and formed the Elgin Sweeper Corporation.
Pioneering African-American chemist Lloyd Hall was an Elgin native, as was the legendary marketer and car stereo pioneer Earl "Madman" Muntz and Max Adler, founder of the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, America's first planetarium. Local historian E. C. Alft has written an ongoing newspaper column about Elgin's history. Elgin is located at 42°2′18″N 88°19′22″W. According to the 2010 census, Elgin has a total area of 37.704 square miles, of which 37.16 square miles is land and 0.544 square miles is water. On March 28, 1920, Elgin was struck by several tornadoes along the Fox River that caused significant damage to Chicago and several western suburbs. Four people were killed and several businesses and homes were destroyed, including the Opera House and Grant Theater; as of the census of 2010, there were 108,188 people, 37,848 households. The population density was 2,911.2 people per square mile. There were 37,848 housing units at an average density of 1,306.5 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 65.9% White, 7.4% African American, 1.40% Native American, 5.4% Asian, 16.3% from other races, 3.6% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 43.6% of the population. A significant portion of Elgin's Asian population was of Laotian origin. There were 35,094 households out of which 38% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.6% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 28.0% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals 65 years and older, 7.1% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.56. In the city, the population was spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.5 years. 50.2% of the population was female. The median income for a household in the city was $56,337, the median income for a family was $68,740. Males had a median income of $39,581 versus $28,488 for females; the per capita income for the city was $21,478.
About 6.4% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over. In 2013, Elgin ranked number one in the Chicago metropolitan area in new home starts, while ranking second in new home closings. Elgin's downtown has been the center of city renovations and new developments. New townhouses, condo towers, loft spaces, art galleries have opened in the last decade. In October 2003 the Gail Borden Public Library moved into a new $30 million, 139,980 square foot, 460,000 volume-capacity building. In August 2009 the city opened the first satellite branch; the 10,000 square foot Rakow Branch, situated on Elgin's West Side, was LEED registered, was designed to be expandable up to 30,000 square feet. Elgin opened the 185,000 sq. ft. Centre of Elgin recreation facility across the street from the library. In 2009, Gail Borden was one of five libraries to receive the National Medal for Museum and Library Service issued by the Institute of Museum and Library Service in Washington DC.
In 2014, Elgin completed the Central Business District Streetscape Improvement Project and the Riverside Drive Promenade. In the 1990s, Elgin became one of the few cities in northern Illinois to host a riverboat casino; the Grand Victoria Casino generated controversy, but went on to be a significant source of income for the city
Peoria is the county seat of Peoria County and the largest city on the Illinois River. Established in 1691 by the French explorer Henri de Tonti, Peoria is the oldest European settlement in Illinois, is named after the Peoria tribe; as of the 2010 census, the city was the seventh-most populated in Illinois, with a population of 115,007. The Peoria Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 373,590 in 2011; until 2018, Peoria was the global and national headquarters for Caterpillar Inc. one of the 30 companies composing the Dow Jones Industrial Average, listed on the Fortune 100. Peoria is one of the oldest settlements in Illinois, as explorers first ventured up the Illinois River from the Mississippi; the lands that would become Peoria were first settled by Europeans in 1680, when French explorers René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Henri de Tonti constructed Fort Crevecoeur. This fort would burn to the ground, in 1813 Fort Clark, Illinois was built; when the County of Peoria was organized in 1825, Fort Clark was named Peoria.
Peoria was named after a member of the Illinois Confederation. The original meaning of the word is uncertain. A 21st-century proposal suggests a derivation from a Proto-Algonquian word meaning "to dream with the help of a manitou."Peoria was incorporated as a village on March 11, 1835. The city did not have a mayor, though they had a village president, Rudolphus Rouse, who served from 1835 to 1836; the first Chief of Police, John B Lishk, was appointed in 1837. The city was incorporated on April 21, 1845; this was the end of a village president and the start of the mayoral system, with the first mayor being William Hale. Peoria, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, was named after Peoria, Illinois because the two men who founded it in 1890 − Joseph B. Greenhut and Deloss S. Brown − wished to name it after their hometown. For much of the twentieth century, a red-light district of brothels and bars known as the Merry-Go-Round distinguished Peoria. Betty Friedan recalled driving through the neighborhood on dares during her high school years.
Richard Pryor got his start as a performer on North Washington Street in the early 1960s. According to the 2010 census, Peoria has a total area of 50.23 square miles, of which 48.01 square miles is land and 2.22 square miles is water. Peoria has a humid continental climate, with cold, snowy winters, hot, humid summers. Monthly daily mean temperatures range from 22.5 °F to 75.2 °F. Snowfall is common in the winter, averaging 26.3 inches, but this figure varies from year to year. Precipitation, averaging 36 inches, peaks in the spring and summer, is the lowest in winter. Extremes have ranged from −27 °F in January 1884 to 113 °F in July 1936; the city of Peoria is home to the Peoria Civic Center. The world headquarters for Caterpillar Inc. was based in Peoria for over 110 years until announcing their move to Deerfield, Illinois in late 2017. Medicine has become a major part of Peoria's economy. In addition to three major hospitals, the USDA's National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research called the USDA Northern Regional Research Lab, is located in Peoria.
This is one of the labs. Grandview Drive, which Theodore Roosevelt purportedly called the "world's most beautiful drive" during a 1910 visit, runs through Peoria and Peoria Heights. In addition to Grandview Drive, the Peoria Park District contains 9,000 acres of trails; the Illinois River Bluff Trail connects four Peoria Park District parks: Camp Wokanda, Robinson Park, Green Valley Camp, Detweiller Park, the Rock Island Greenway connects to the State of Illinois Rock Island trail traveling north to Toulon, IL and connects southeast to East Peoria, IL and to the Morton Community Bikeway. Other parks include the Forest Park Nature Center, which features seven miles of hiking trails through prairie openings and forested woodlands, Glen Oak Park, Bradley Park, which features Frisbee golf as well as a dog park. Peoria has five public golf courses as well as several semi-private golf courses; the Peoria Park District, the first and still largest park district in Illinois, was the 2001 Winner of the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation for Class II Parks.
Museums in Peoria include the Pettengill-Morron House, the John C Flanagan House of the Peoria Historical Society, the Wheels o' Time Museum. A new Museum Square, opened on October 12, 2012, houses the Peoria Riverfront Museum, a planetarium, the Caterpillar World Visitors Center; the Peoria Art Guild hosts the Annual Art Fair, continually rated as one of the 100 top art fairs in the nation. Three cultural institutions are located in Glen Oak Park; the Peoria Zoo Glen Oak Zoo, was expanded and refurbished in recent years. Finished in 2009, the new zoo improvements more than triple the size of the zoo and feature a major African safari exhibit. Luthy Garden, established in 1951, encompasses five acres and offers over a dozen theme gardens and a Conservatory; the Peoria PlayHouse Children's Museum opened in June 2015 in the Glen Oak Pavilion. The Steamboat Classic, held every summer, is the world's largest four-mile running race and draws international runners; the Peoria Santa Claus Parade, which started in 1888, is the oldest running holiday parade in the United States.
Peoria's sister cities include Friedrichshafen, G
Lori Elaine Lightfoot is an American politician, elected Mayor of Chicago in 2019. She has worked in private legal practice as a partner at Mayer Brown and held various government positions in the City of Chicago, most notably as former President of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, she is a member of the Democratic Party. Lightfoot ran for Mayor of Chicago in 2019, advancing to a runoff election against Toni Preckwinkle in the February 2019 election, she defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff on April 2, 2019. Lightfoot is the first black female and first gay leader of the city, which will now be the largest in United States history to have an LGBTQ mayor, again the largest U. S. city to be headed by a woman. She is the second woman to be elected mayor of Chicago and the first woman to hold the office since the four-year term of Jane Byrne ended in 1983. Lightfoot was born in Massillon, the youngest of four children of a healthcare aide and school board member mother and a factory worker and janitor father.
She grew up in a white neighborhood on the west side of the city. She is a graduate of Washington High School in Massillon, where she was a trumpet player in the school band, point guard on the basketball team, yearbook editor, Pep Club member, she was elected high school class president three times. Her high school alumni association named her a "Distinguished Citizen" in 2013. While in high school, Lightfoot helped organize a boycott of her school's lunch program over the quality of its pizza. Lightfoot received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from University of Michigan in 1984, graduating with honors, she worked seven jobs to afford her education, including working as a resident assistant. She worked factory jobs at home during summers to help pay for her education. While Lightfoot was an undergraduate, her older brother was arrested in connection with a bank robbery. Lightfoot took jobs working for Congress members Ralph Regula and Barbara Mikulski before deciding to attend law school.
She has said she chose to attend law school not because of her brother's legal troubles, but because she wanted a job that offered financial independence. She matriculated at University of Chicago Law School; as president of the University of Chicago Law School's student body, she led a successful movement to ban a law firm from campus after the firm sent a recruiter who made racist and sexist remarks towards a student. Lightfoot quarterbacked an intramural flag football team while at Chicago Law School. Lightfoot served as a clerk for Justice Charles Levin of the Michigan Supreme Court, she graduated from University of Chicago with her Juris Doctor degree in 1989. After graduating law school, Lightfoot became a practicing attorney at the Mayer Brown law firm. During this time, she defended large corporate clients, Republican politicians, clients accused of racial discrimination against African-Americans. Lightfoot first entered the public sector as Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.
During her mayoral campaign, Lightfoot cited several reasons for entering public service, including a desire to represent the African-American community, a sense of injustice based on the murder of a family member by a Ku Klux Klan member in the 1920s, her older brother's struggles with the law. While working as a federal prosecutor, Lightfoot helped to prosecute those accused of federal crimes, including drug crimes, she assisted with an FBI investigation into Chicago corruption. She helped to convict alderman Virgil Jones. In 1999, Lightfoot was issued a warning for misconduct by judge Richard Posner in a case in which she was found by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to have misled a United States Circuit Judge regarding a suspect's whereabouts, making it impossible for the judge to stay the suspect's extradition to Norway. Lightfoot and the Justice Department at the time disputed this characterization of her actions. In 2002, Lightfoot was appointed chief administrator of the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards, a now-defunct governmental police oversight group, by Police Superintendent Terry Hillard.
She held the position for two years. In the position, she was charged with investigating possible cases of police misconduct, including police shootings of civilians. However, a Chicago Tribune report found that the Office of Professional Standards' investigations lacked thoroughness. Lightfoot says her recommendations for disciplinary action were rejected by the police department. In one notable case, Lightfoot went against Police Department orthodoxy by recommending the firing of officer Alvin Weems, who shot and killed an unarmed man, Michael Pleasance. Weems was believed to have accidentally shot Pleasance, but after video evidence contradicting the initial claims was revealed Weems himself expressed feeling that the shooting was unjustified. Weems was not fired by the Chicago Police Department, but the city was forced to pay a settlement to the Pleasance family. Weems committed suicide. In another controversial case where officer Phyllis Clinkscales shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Robert Washington, the Chicago Tribune reported that Lightfoot determined that the shooting was justified.
In doing so, the Tribune said she reversed the order of her predecessor, who had called for Clinkscales' firing. Clinkscales' account of the events of the shooting had been found to contain untrue statements in an investigation. Lightfoot disputes this account of Clinkscales' case, saying that the police superintendent at the time was responsible for declining Lightfoot's predecessor's finding that the