The embattled former mayor of Chicago who lost her re-election bid last month after serving a single term is set to teach leadership at Harvard.
Lori Lightfoot, 60, presided over four years dominated by skyrocketing crime, war with teachers’ unions and the police and battles with the city council. She resigned on May 15 as the first mayor not to win a second term in 40 years.
Yet on Thursday, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health announced that Lightfoot would join its faculty for a semester in the fall.
Michelle Williams, the dean, praised Lightfoot for her “strong leadership in advocating for health, fairness and dignity for every Chicago resident.”
Lori Lightfoot was seen last month on her last day as mayor of Chicago. She was the first mayor in 40 years not to be re-elected
Lightfoot will teach at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health in the fall for one semester
Williams praised “his declaration of structural racism as a public health crisis” and his “innovative initiative to bring mental health services to libraries and shelters.”
Lightfoot – who on May 10 told Politico she was ‘thrilled to be a full-time mother, a full-time wife and a full-time private citizen’ – said she was delighted to land this prestigious position.
Michelle Williams, the school’s dean, celebrated Lightfoot’s appointment
She was a lawyer before entering politics and had an acrimonious relationship with the Chicago Teachers Union which saw an 11-day strike and two actions at the height of the COVID pandemic.
Lightfoot has taught advocacy courses at the University of Chicago and Northwestern law schools.
“I have always loved teaching, and the opportunity to return to it is something that excites me,” she tweeted.
“Looking forward to sharing the experiences and insights I learned about governing during one of the most difficult times in American history with the @HarvardChanSPH community!”
Lightfoot said his wife, Amy, and daughter will stay in Chicago while she accepts the Harvard Fellowship, which lasts eight weeks. Although it is a residential exchange, Lightfoot said she expects to travel back and forth from Chicago.
She follows in the footsteps of Bill de Blasio, the much-hated New York mayor who taught at Harvard when he left office last year.
Bill de Blasio, the former mayor of New York, taught at Harvard after leaving office
Lightfoot had a contentious relationship with the city council (pictured)
Lightfoot had a difficult relationship with the press: Newsmax pugilist reporter William Kelly is seen in February 2022 having the microphone taken
His appointment to teach leadership has raised eyebrows.
Lightfoot’s approval ratings in office were consistently low: In January of this year, just 9% of Chicagoans said their city was heading in the right direction.
At the time of the first round of the election, in February, she was the only candidate to have an unfavorable rating higher than her favorable one: a net favorable rating of -10%.
She did not make it to the second round.
Lightfoot immediately clashed with city council members, sparking angry scenes. She also had a frosty relationship with the Governor, JB Pritzker – a fellow Democrat.
But she insisted it was necessary.
“I came into government with a mandate of 75% of the vote to break the status quo and make sure I did things and put the ordinary residents of our city first,” she told Politico on leaving office.
“With this mandate, you will disrupt the status quo. You are going to make some people angry.
She was widely disliked by the press – the Politico discussion was her only exit interview, contrary to tradition; and in 2021 she announced that she only gave interviews to journalists of color, deeming the press corps too white.
She was sued for the decision, which was condemned as a violation of the First Amendment.
Lightfoot has also been attacked for being brutal in its COVID policies.
Thousands marched through Chicago in October 2019 during a teachers’ strike
Lightfoot’s tenure has been marked by repeated clashes with teachers’ unions
She held a press conference with Chief Constable David Brown and warned that those who defied the stay-at-home order would be punished. As she left the conference venue, she saw a group of black teenagers playing basketball and told them to go home and stay there – angering progressives with her brutality in a struggling neighborhood.
In February 2021, it emerged that she had used $281.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to cover the cost of salaries and benefits for Chicago Police Department officers — a decision that has yet to be heard. infuriated progressives, who saw her prioritizing the police over the local population.
The police were not on his side either – despite his efforts to position themselves as pro-police.
They complained of understaffing and overwork, and she frequently clashed with police union chief John Catanzara.
In May 2021, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police issued a symbolic vote of no confidence in Lightfoot, Brown, and the department’s second-in-command, Eric Carter, for reasons including vacation cancellations and job extensions. shift.
And crime continued to rise.
While she ruled the city, overall crime increased by 42%.
Crime under Lightfoot has risen 42% overall, over four years
Chicago police are seen at the scene where an officer was fatally shot on March 1
In the first three months of 2023, Chicago’s murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 people made it one of the deadliest cities in America – worse than New York and Los Angeles, according to a WalletHub study
Homicides under his rule increased by 13% and shootings by 10%.
Thefts increased by 30% and motor vehicle thefts by 204%.
Last month, researchers found that shootings are so common in the city of 2.7 million that 56% of black and Hispanic people are victims before their 40th birthday.
In the first three months of 2023, Chicago’s murder rate of 4.2 per 100,000 people made it one of America’s deadliest cities – worse than New York and Los Angeles, according to a recent study from WalletHub.
Lightfoot supporters say she was elected to challenge the status quo and she did.
They also point to the economic development of the neglected South and West Sides, the expansion of the city’s rail system in the South Side, the promotion of a rise in the minimum wage and the mobilization of a billion dollars for the construction of housing. affordable.