May 20 (UPI) -- Lori Lightfoot was sworn in Monday as Chicago's first black female and openly gay mayor, with a promise to end the "broken and corrupt political machine" that has ruled the city.
Lightfoot was sworn in at Wintrust Arena and was set to host a public open house at City Hall later Monday. In her opening speech, she talked about making Chicago an inclusive city with opportunities for everyone.
"Children who look like me and come from family like mine shouldn't have to beat the odds to get an education, pursue their passions or build a family. Every kid in this city should grow up and know they can pursue anyone. They can love anyone. That's my Chicago dream. And i know we're just a little bit closer to that dream as I stand here today inaugurated as Chicago's first black woman mayor and first openly gay mayor."
Lightfoot pointed out the city clerk and treasurer were also women of color, a first for the city -- and credited her mother for paving the way.
"My mom is 90 years old. Forgive me for disclosing, and doesn't travel much these days," Lightfoot said. "But nothing could keep her from being here today. Mom, you and Dad told me that I could be anything that I wanted to be."
She also addressed gun violence in Chicago and a mass exodus of people leaving the city.
"People cannot and should not live in a neighborhood that resembles a war zone," Lightfoot said. "Enough with the shootings. Enough with the guns."
Lightfoot will lead a City Council with 50 members that includes a large progressive caucus and six socialists. Overall, the council includes 13 new aldermen. She promised to bring integrity to Chicago government with much-needed reforms.
"Get ready because reform is here," Lightfoot said during her speech. "I campaigned on change. You voted for change. And I plan to deliver change to our government."
"What I've said to every committee chair that we've identified is there will no longer be nepotism," she said prior to the speech. "You will no longer be hiring your friends and relatives and supervising them and putting them on the city payroll."
Other challenges she will face include neighborhood disinvestment and segregation and a budget shortfall totaling $70 million. Police and firefighters need new contracts. The Chicago Teachers Union threatened to strike this fall. The city also has a pension crisis.
Lightfoot said she's committed to putting Chicago on a path to solvency but warned that tough decisions are coming.She also referenced the abortion debate raging in Georgia, Mississippi and other states, urging everyone to resist government's attempts to control what women can do with their bodies.
Lightfoot follows in the mold of Harold Washington, who became Chicago's first black mayor in 1983. Like Lightfoot, he promised to "tell the truth" and sound the alarm about an "immediate fiscal problem" that was "both enormous and complicated." Monday, Lightfoot said she felt Washington's presence.