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Black, gay woman elected Chicago mayor in historic vote

CHICAGO: In a historical first, a gay African-American woman was elected mayor of America's third greatest town Tuesday, as Chicago electorate entrusted a political newbie with tackling tricky problems of monetary inequality and gun violence.

Lori Lightfoot, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and practising attorney who has never prior to held elected place of business, received the Midwestern town's mayoral race in a lopsided victory.

She beat out Toni Preckwinkle, the executive executive of Cook County wherein Chicago is positioned, by a large margin of 74 to 26 % in early vote casting results with maximum ballots counted. Preckwinkle is also African-American.

Lightfoot will change into Chicago's first overtly gay mayor and the primary African-American woman to carry the publish. Since 1837, Chicago electorate have elected only one black mayor and one female mayor.

Her ascendancy to the top of Chicago executive was a stunning building in a town the place insider deals and entrenched birthday party politics held sway for many years.

"It is a city-wide rejection of the Chicago political establishment at the mayoral level," Evan McKenzie, political science professor on the University of Illinois in Chicago, advised AFP.

Preckwinkle has for many years held more than a few native elected workplaces, which analysts said hurt her in an election wherein electorate have been having a look to shake up town hall -- uninterested with gun violence that claims extra lives than in other major American towns, and years of political corruption within the Democratic stronghold.

"People (are) hoping for something different to come along. To be the vessel for that is overwhelming," Lightfoot advised reporters earlier Tuesday.

The preliminary field within the mayoral race consisted of 14 contenders, but Lightfoot managed an disenchanted -- sidelining moderates and establishment figures by promising to clean up town executive and reduce financial inequality.

She and Preckwinkle have been the final two left competing in Tuesday's run-off election.

Lightfoot headed a panel investigating the town's policing problems and held plenty of appointed positions in town executive.

She has promised to increase affordable housing, struggle homelessness and crime, and spice up oversight of the police division.

Voters left no doubt they sought after the next mayor to take on the major problems vexing the town of 2.7 million people -- together with financial disparities and gun violence.

"The message is that (voters) want new ideas and cleaner government," McKenzie said.

Community groups have for years complained about disparities in residing conditions some of the sprawling town's diverse communities.

Gun violence, fueled by gangs and the drug industry, plagues economically-depressed neighborhoods within the South and West, which might be majority African-American.

The downtown industry district, and areas to the north and alongside the town's famed lake shore, have enjoyed an financial increase whilst more than 550 people have been murdered closing yr on my own.

Reforming the police division, which has a sordid historical past of abusive ways, and city hall, which is mired in a federal corruption probe of one among its participants, also are top priorities, McKenzie said.

Lightfoot will replace outgoing mayor Rahm Emanuel -- once a emerging famous person within the Democratic Party and former president Barack Obama's first White House leader of body of workers.

The tough Emanuel sustained political injury for his dealing with of homicide of black youngster Laquan McDonald and declined to run for a 3rd term.

Lightfoot emphasised all the way through her marketing campaign that she was some of the few early applicants to declare her candidacy prior to Emanuel determined to not run again.

McDonald was a 17-year-old boy shot useless by police in a 2014 come across caught on police dash cam video.

The video -- appearing officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 bullets into the knife-wielding teenager even after he fell to the bottom -- was no longer released for more than a yr.

Emanuel confronted accusations of an tried cover-up. He fired the police leader and brought in a reformer who has instituted changes, labored to rebuild public consider, and diminished gun violence.

But as Van Dyke was about to head on trial for homicide in September, Emanuel announced he would no longer run for re-election.

Van Dyke was convicted and sentenced to almost seven years in prison.

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