* As we discussed yesterday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is under fire for traveling to New York…
* Lightfoot defended the trip with the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet…
Lightfoot sees some travel as part of her job.
“We’re a global city,” Lightfoot said. “From time to time I’m going to leave town to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to raise Chicago’s profile, to form relationships with people and institutions that are going to inure to the benefit of residents in Chicago.
“And you know, that’s just going to happen. And if people have a problem with that that, I’m sorry but I’m going to do that. That is, part of my responsibility is to be a fierce advocate for the city of Chicago and the residents of my city, everywhere. And that means forming relationships, and sometimes relationships can’t be formed by telephone. They actually have to be face-to-face and across a beverage or a meal. And that’s what I’m going to do. And if people look askance at that, so be it.”
The most important part of her New York visit in my view was her meeting on Monday with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Chase, besides holding a lot of Chicago debt, is putting some $50 million in programs to bolster the economies in the South and West Sides.
“And you know, I’m still a novelty to some people across the country, and I think it’s important for me, as a mayor of Chicago, as the chief advocate and ambassador for the city to let people know what we’re doing and to get to know me.
“So I met with Jamie Dimon, who’s one of the most important business people on the planet. Chase has a big footprint in Chicago. … So for me not to get to know him given the importance of Chase to the city both in terms of our financial relationship with them — but also they employ a lot of people in the city of Chicago. They’re deeply investing from their foundation and charitable work. It’s a no-brainer that I would meet with somebody like him.”
* She also met with a ratings agency…
In separate sessions as part of a three-day swing to New York City, the new mayor had what her office described as “a meet and greet” with Fitch Ratings and then sat down to talk with Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase.
The session with Fitch is one of a series the mayor is holding with large firms that can push or pan city bond issues, driving up or down the price local taxpayers have to pay to borrow money, spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said.