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Progressive Chicago Mayor Angers Democratic Force: Teachers

  • Lightfoot caught between unforgiving budget and party pillars
  • Educators’ fury also hobbled her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel
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Striking Chicago teachers on Thursday chanted a blunt challenge to the maverick mayor of the third-largest U.S. city: “Lori Lightfoot, get on the right foot!”

This year’s election of Lightfoot, a gay black woman and daughter of a union steel worker, represented a shift -- and perhaps a national bellwether -- for a heavily Democratic constituency that chafed under her centrist predecessor Rahm Emanuel. But like Emanuel before her, Lightfoot is failing to win over a party mainstay, the Chicago Teachers Union. Its 25,000 members walked out Thursday, seeking higher pay, more nurses and housing for homeless students.