In a weekend interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he hopes his “working relationship” with former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot continues to grow stronger as she prepares to become a Chicago police board member.
Lightfoot, Emanuel’s top critic on the Chicago City Council, was selected by the mayor on Wednesday to take the seat vacated by Eugene Jones.
Jones, a Democrat, was voted out of the Chicago police board in November as the result of escalating street violence across the city.
Reacting to Jones’ departure, Emanuel said he’s hopeful that Lightfoot will serve as a moderating force in the board.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” he said. “I’m trying to develop a working relationship with Lori, and so I think this all is positive news.”
While Lightfoot certainly remains Emanuel’s top critic on the City Council, the mayor may be surprised to learn that the former federal prosecutor may actually need the police union in her corner, too.
In the Sun-Times interview, Lightfoot dismissed a possible run against her in the 2019 mayoral election by Steve Rodriguez, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7.
“He is joking,” she said. “It would be a gift. That’s all.”
Lightfoot also dismissed speculation that the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) will endorse her.
Lightfoot began advocating for changes to the Chicago school system in 2014 when she served as president of the Chicago Board of Education. CTU, the largest teachers union in the country, has been at odds with Emanuel and has supported other progressive candidates like Lori Lightfoot.
“They are our best friends in the city in pushing for more schools and more opportunities for our students, and so I think the CTU is going to be all in,” she said.
Last month, Emanuel said he is running for re-election, fueling speculation over who may be his top rival.
Neither of the two leading African-American challengers, Bob Fioretti and Paul Vallas, have announced their intentions to run for the job, which will be open after Emanuel’s term expires.