CAMPTON HILLS – Campton Hills residents have voted in a fresh face to represent them on the Village Board.
Trailing incumbents Al Lenkaitis Jr. and Mike Millette, Harry Blecker, a 66-year-old small business owner, claimed the third trustee seat, pushing out incumbent John Strauss, according to unofficial results Tuesday night.
Unofficial vote totals were 658 for Lenkaitis, 651 for Millette, 591 for Blecker and 295 for Strauss with 12 of 12 precincts reporting.
Blecker said Tuesday that he is looking forward to serving on the board and expects the budget will be one of the first topics he tackles as trustee.
"I'm feeling really excited by it," Blecker said of his win, adding he and his wife likely will eat out Wednesday night to celebrate.
Blecker has said Kiva Recovery – the alcohol and substance abuse facility once proposed for the former Glenwood School site – sparked his interest in running for trustee.
Strauss, 68, was the only trustee running for re-election who supported the highly contested facility. He said Tuesday he realized his vote could cost him the election, but he still stands by it.
"Kiva would have provided, unfortunately, a necessary social service and most importantly to the village, contribute a much-needed revenue stream, especially in light of the fact the state may change its equation for sharing revenue with municipalities," Strauss said.
Strauss, who was involved with the village before it incorporated, said it was a privilege to contribute to the village's success.
"If Kiva did anything," he said, "it energized the community a little bit."