Opinion | ‘It’s a Tough Time to Be Mayor’: Lori Lightfoot Responds to Her Critics

Produced by ‘Sway’

Mayors across the country are facing heat. Bill DeBlasio was New York’s default punching bag (perhaps deservedly) throughout the pandemic. Keisha Lance Bottoms decided to forgo seeking a second term as the mayor of Atlanta. And in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot faces critics at every turn. Lightfoot, who in describing herself says, “Roll it all up — I’m Black, I’m female, I’m a lesbian, and no one expected me to win,” is two years into a term that has been defined by a brutal pandemic, a deeply unequal economy and rising crime.

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In this conversation, Kara Swisher asks Lightfoot to respond to the criticism she’s received — whether for her leadership style or for her recent move to grant one-on-one interviews marking her two years in office exclusively to journalists of color. They also discuss the challenges of rising crime in Chicago, why Lightfoot doesn’t support the defund-the-police movement and what would prompt her to consider reinstating a mask mandate.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Matt Kwong, Daphne Chen and Caitlin O’Keefe, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Liriel Higa.

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