Mayor Michelle’s Biography
Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush, born at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Hammond, Indiana, to Daniel and Ruth Markiewicz, is the first woman elected Mayor in Calumet City, Illinois in 2003.
She was raised in a Catholic family in Calumet City, Illinois. Her father, Daniel Markiewicz was the son of Polish immigrants, was an employee of the Calumet City Water Department and was a Democratic Precinct Captain. Ruth Markiewicz, Michelle’s mother, was also the daughter of Polish immigrants. She was a homemaker. Mayor Michelle has two older sisters. She is married to Roland and has two sons and three grandchildren.
Mayor Michelle is a life-long resident of Calumet City. After graduating from Thornton Fractional North High School, she immediately went to work as a secretary in downtown Chicago. Her career in public service began with her employment with Calumet City, Illinois, in October, 1977. She was promoted to Deputy City Clerk in 1979. In 1985, she was the youngest person ever elected as City Clerk. She was subsequently elected to five, four- year terms in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2001. Mayor Michelle attended the University of Illinois, Municipal Clerk’s Institute, at Champaign-Urbana and is a certified Municipal Clerk. She is a registered Municipal Clerk with the State of Illinois.
In 2003, Michelle ran for Mayor and the preliminary results showed she lost by 24 votes. An election recount was held, and the Court determined that she, in fact, won that election by 57 votes. Subsequently, she was re-elected in 2005, 2009 and 2013.
Mayor Michelle has received numerous awards throughout her career. Most recently she was awarded a “Woman of Honor” award by Thornton Township.
As Mayor of the City of Calumet City, her major initiative is healthy neighborhoods. She developed an aggressive neighborhood revitalization program which includes, restoration of older homes, demolitions of dilapidated homes, and reducing the density in neighborhoods. The Plan also includes demolitions of taverns in residential neighborhoods and retiring those liquor licenses. She personally drives and walks the neighborhoods to identify and address concerns with the residents. Many hours are spent in the neighborhood securing vacant homes and buildings and making the properties blend into the neighborhoods by cutting the grass and painting.
Calumet City shows off it’s community pride with banners, flowers pots on main streets and area plantings. If you know Michelle, you know of her love for her town. Mayor Michelle worked to produce Calumet City’s first music video set to the music of Bon Jovi’s song “I Love This town.”
The doors of City Hall are always open. Mayor Michelle promotes the hiring of women and minorities. She advances a public policy of cultural sensitivity and inclusion. Mayor Michelle encourages neighbors to get to know each other through community events such as: Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage, Polish American Heritage, block parties, holiday events and concerts in the parks.
Michelle feels she has been blessed with a long, successful career in public service because she is an honest, hardworking professional who communicates effectively with those she serves and those she serves with.