Joseph W. Strzelczyk

     Military veteran Joseph W. Strzelczyk is best known as a “team player” who has spent much of his life working with young people as a baseball coach. That passion to help others moved him to seek public office in 1990 when he was elected to a position of Trustee in the Village of Summit, serving two terms. In 1997, Strzelczyk has elected as Summit’s Mayor and is currently seeking re-election to his 4th term in office. Strzelczyk’s public service began in 1978 working as a Special Recreation Instructor for the Chicago Park District. “I enjoy public service and I enjoy working with people, especially young people and senior citizens,” Strzelczyk explains. My background gives me a wide range of experience that helps me as the Mayor of Summit to maintain the village as one of the best in the Chicagoland suburbs.” But before that, Strzelczyk launched his own business as a young man working as a self-employed “trader” at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange in 1976 where he also owned a prestigious Trading Seat. Strzelczyk is an experienced writer, working for the Daily Southtown beginning in 1985 writing columns on softball and sports, and later writing articles for the popular Chicago Softball Magazine beginning in 1987. He hosted the popular “Let’s Talk Softball” on Cable TV for Jones and Multimedia and Metrovision cable systems, and was a sports commentator for 1570 AM sports radio’s “Miller Sports Report” in the 1980s. He also coached for the North American Pro Softball league in 1980. Strzelczyk continued his writing avocation, completing background reports that are used in court judicial proceedings for Cook County and he also worked as a county probation officer. Strzelczek served honorably in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, 1962-1963, and served five years in the US Army Reserves until 1968. As Mayor of Summit, Strzelczyk said he is committed to the goals of the Democratic Party. “I am a proud Democrat. And I have always strived to carry the ideals of the Democratic Party throughout my career. For me, Democrats were always the people who helped people, the Party that looked out for the Working Man and Woman. Democrats work together to make our communities strong so that we can live the American Dream and our children can have an even brighter future,” Strzelczyk explained. “I was instrumental in helping the Village of Summit become a Pro-Union and Labor shop. This has helped our people raise families with job security with a fair wage. As a lifelong resident of Summit, I celebrate our working class roots and families working towards the great American Dream. I will continue to do everything in my power to help those families and especially the children of Summit achieve those dreams.” Strzelczyk says his key achievements include reducing the village debt and making Summit profitable in the last two years, for the first time in more than two decades. His tough management of finances and public spending is reflected in his frugal office surroundings in his own office. Strzelczyk said that he is most proud of attracting new businesses to Summit including Advance Auto, Family Dollar, Portillos, Summit Cold Storage and LaFinka, a new restaurant. He was able to also bring in Krispy Kreme Donuts, which unfortunately closed several years ago. A key to the community’s success, he said, is “making people believe that they can achieve what they seek and also that we can fight and defeat crime.” During his term in office, crime has made a steady decline. Describing himself as a “straight talker,” Strzelczyk is proud of the balance and diversity in the community with strong representation from many of the regions ethnic groups including Albanians, Hispanics, African Americans and Whites. Over the years, he has secured more than $2.5 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding which he has used to improve streets and strengthen the Village’s infra-structure. In 2001, under his direction, Summit was able to bring in a 78-unit, $14 million Senior Housing Development. And last year, Summit was included in the revenue sharing agreement with the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, which this year brought in more than $604,000 in added revenue to off-set the burden on taxpayers. The Stompers won the Kelly Park division title in 1975. They were the Forest Park runners-up in 1978 and won the championship in 1980. In 1984 and 1986 they took second place at the USSSA Nationals and won the title in 1985.