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Mayor Lori Lightfoot reflects on challenges, successes in farewell address

Mayor Lightfoot emotional in farewell speech
Mayor Lightfoot emotional in farewell speech 02:39

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot gave an emotional final speech in office on Monday afternoon.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov was in the audience to hear the heartfelt speech in the West Side's South Austin community. The speech was not even announced until late Sunday night.

Lightfoot spoke for about 30 minutes at the BUILD Chicago Community Center, 5100 W. Harrison St., which was built during her term. The mayor was gracious, at times emotional and she called her time in office an honor and a privilege. 

The mayor called the gathering for her speech a moment of triumph and celebration.

"The mandate that I was given four years ago was to break up the status quo that failed our residents for far too long - and to chart a new path," Lightfoot said.

The Kaotic Drumline set the tone for the upbeat speech during which Lightfoot touted her accomplishments.

"My administration has been victorious in our efforts to plant seeds of equity, and serve the city we all love so much," Lightfoot said.

Those accomplishments included leading the city through the COVID-19 pandemic, securing $2.2 billion for efforts to invest in the city's South and West Sides, and recognized many who served alongside her. She acknowledged there were challenges too, but said she's proud of her administration's accomplishments.

"These challenges pushed me closer to my faith, and through it all, I believe, made me a better leader, a battle-tested leader to be sure," Lightfoot said. "But I also hope, and believe, that it made me a better person."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot highlights success, struggles in farewell address 02:29

She also expressed frustration that pundits and the news media often focused on her missteps and combative demeanor, but said it made her more resilient.

"Let me tell you my friends, the four-letter word that propelled me forward every single day of this incredible journey, one that I intone every time that I need to rise above the noise and despair," Lightfoot said. "That four-letter word was spelled H-O-P-E."

But Lightfoot, who did not bring up any missteps or mistakes, believes she helped pave the way for further progress.

"Regardless of who comes and goes on the Fifth Floor, Chicago is going to continue working together," Mayor Lightfoot said. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivers farewell address 01:52

There was a packed house at the community center. A private reception also took place after the speech inside the community center.

The mayor did not take any questions after her speech, which has been standard operating procedure since she lost in the Feb. 28 election.

It's not clear what she'll do next except entering private life, although she said she'll continue to cheer for the City of Chicago.

Lightfoot's final address as mayor comes exactly one week ahead of Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson's inauguration next Monday.

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