By Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS) — It had to be one of the most difficult first years in office.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, in charge during the COVID-19 pandemic, is managing an unprecedented public health crisis and the economic fallout that comes with it. Earlier in her first year, there was a teachers’ strike and her firing of a lying police superintendent.

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The mayor sat down with CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov on the eve of what will be 12 months in office.

“It’s been a long year. There’s no question about it,” Lightfoot said.

In 12 months, she stripped aldermen of their aldermanic prerogatives, faced a two-week teachers strike and now grapples with the coronavirus pandemic that prompted her to shut down the lakefront.

While she believes in preparation, “nothing prepares you for trying to manage a city of this size and complexity during a worldwide pandemic. These last two months have felt like two years.”

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While she knows there are always going to be critics, being mayor is the best job in the world.

When asked what grade she would give herself, Lightfoot said, “I’m a black woman in America and over the arc of my life, I knew that if I didn’t work hard to get things for myself, that the opportunities that others faced and were presented to them weren’t going to be available to me.”

“I’m who I am, warts and all, and I am proud of myself and proud of accomplishments my team has made.”

The year ahead could be even more challenging, as she works towards reopening the city, faces some aldermanic pushback and deals with a pandemic-related budget hole, which could force another property tax hike.

“We’ve got to be smart and thoughtful and look at lots of other things first,” Lightfoot said. “But this is going to be very, very tough fiscal climate, make no mistake about it.”

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