CHICAGO (CBS) — One year after winning the race for mayor, Lori Lightfoot said she remains “incredibly humbled” to be leading the city of Chicago, especially in the face of the coronavirus pandemic that has prompted a statewide “stay at home” order, and forced many businesses to close their doors for several weeks.
“First and foremost, it’s been the honor of my lifetime,” Lightfoot said Thursday, exactly one year after winning all 50 wards in the runoff election for mayor. “We’ve been through a lot in this last year, more than I think anyone would have expected or anticipated, but I’m grateful to the support that I continue to receive from total strangers who give me the thumb’s up.”
When she won a resounding election victory last April, no one could have predicted one year later Lightfoot would be leading the city through a virus pandemic that has infected 3,087 people in the city as of Wednesday afternoon, and claimed at least 39 lives in Chicago.
“In this really unprecedented time, I’m reminded ever day of how amazing the people in this city are. People are stepping up, and really pushing past their comfort levels to be of service to total strangers in this time of need,” Lightfoot said.
“I’m following their example, and encouraging myself, encouraging my team, and encouraging the entire city to really embrace this moment, as horrific at times as it feels, because the only way we get to the other side of this is by being lockstep together in knowing that our fate is wrapped up in each other, and when the light at the end of the tunnel comes, it’s going to be because of the sacrifices that each of us has made in service of the larger good,” she added.
Among those of COVID-19 in Chicago are Chicago Police Officer Marco DiFranco, and another unnamed city employee, who both died in the past two days.
DiFranco, 50, was a 21-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, most recently working in the narcotics section, and Lightfoot said he “was held in high esteem by all who work with him.”
“In this moment, I’m very sad. I spoke to Officer DiFranco’s wife right before I came out here. Those are very hard conversations to have when a wife and a family sitting in that moment with their grief, and I always offer my sincere condolences and sincerely offer to support the family in any way I can, but having been through death and grief myself, these moments are so surreal, and they’re so hard. So I’m feeling that for that family,” she said.
Lightfoot said she feels lucky to still have her mother, siblings, wife, daughter, and a “great network of friends” as the entire nation endures the coronavirus outbreak.
“This isn’t the day that I thought it was going to be in thinking about April 2nd, but I’m grateful every day that the good Lord wakes me up, and gives me the opportunity to serve this city,” Lightfoot said.
While the mayor said she has not been tested for COVID-19 herself, she noted the tests are only useful on people who have shown symptoms of the virus.
“I want to make sure that the tests that are available are used on people who are exhibiting those symptoms, and luckily, knock on wood, I’ve been very healthy,” she said.