First and foremost a lawyer as well as a leader of our Italian-American community in the Chicago area, Peter N. Silvestri serves as a role model for our nieces and nephews, sons and daughters, cousins and others from our community who aspire to be successful in the legal field and/or the political arena. I first met Pete more years ago than either of us cares to remember while attending a regular monthly meeting of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, something he rarely misses. He takes being active in the ethnic bar association very seriously, as he obviously does in all his professional life, as an elected political official, community leader, friend and parent.
Peter N. Silvestri, now age 57, was elected Cook County Commissioner for the 9th County District on November 8, 1994, and is currently serving his sixth consecutive term. He was endorsed and strongly supported by our community’s political voice, the Italian American Political Coalition, in each election. He has supported conservative spending and has consistently opposed new taxes, stressing a need to reform practices before imposing additional taxation. Silvestri supports greater access to public health, expansion of forest preserves especially in Chicago and nearby suburbs, and greater cooperation between local and county governments. And always, our community places highly on his agenda.
The 9th Cook County District includes Chicago neighborhoods Hiawatha Park, Edison Park, Oriole Park, Cumberland/Lawrence, Norwood Park, Harlem/Higgins and North Edgebrook along with the suburbs of Mount Prospect, River Forest, River Grove, Norwood Park Township, Rosemont, Harwood Heights, Norridge, Park Ridge, Schiller Park and portions of Des Plaines, Morton Grove, Prospect Heights and unincorporated areas of both Maine and Wheeling Townships.
On the Cook County Board, Commissioner Silvestri is chairman of the Zoning and Building Committee and the Litigation Sub-Committee. He is a member of the Construction, Finance, Tax Delinquency, Tax and Revenue, Health and Hospital, Public Health, Law Enforcement/Corrections, Family Court/Juvenile, Legislation & Intergovernmental Affairs and Roads and Bridges committees. As a Commissioner of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Silvestri is Chairman of the Litigation Committee and a member of the Annexation, Finance, Legislation & Intergovernmental Affairs, Real Estate and Zoological committees. His considerable legal talent enhances Pete’s participation in his extraordinarily difficult and diverse committee responsibilities. His actions on the board are always collegial, non-confrontational and he gets along with and is respected by all the folks on both sides of the political aisle.
Silvestri has made it clear since being elected to the Cook County Board that he is committed to formulating creative ways to improve county government, with an emphasis on cutting budgets and controlling taxes without negatively impacting services to residents. His primary goals have been in the areas of public safety and the forest preserve and better delivery of health services to all areas of the county.
Peter N. Silvestri formerly also served as the Village President of Elmwood Park. He was first elected in 1989 and re-elected in 1993 and 1997. During his administration, he stressed a progressive agenda with a conservative approach to budgets and taxes. Accomplishments of the Silvestri Administration included greater focus in economic development, increased parks and recreation, village beautification and enhanced public safety. His final legacy as Village President was the completion of a new and improved public library.
He served as President of the Leyden-Norwood Park Municipal League from 1990 to 1994. He was President of the Board of Directors of the West Central Municipal Conference, a council representing 36 suburbs, and a representative to the Suburban Mayors Council, which represents 128 suburban communities in Cook County.
Silvestri’s past service includes being a student leader in Elmwood Park High School and a Teen Coordinator with the village’s recreation department. In 1977, at the age of 20, he was elected to the Unit School District 401 Board of Education and served as president, making him the youngest person to ever hold that position. Following his two terms on the school board, he was a member of the Elmwood Park Zoning Board, Plan Commission, Civic Foundation and served as a village trustee.
Peter is a graduate of DePaul University in 1979 and DePaul College of Law, with a Juris Doctorate in 1982. He and his son Christian Peter are parishioners of St. Vincent’s Roman Catholic Church in River Forest.
Before entering politics, Pete was employed with the Illinois Department of Labor serving as Associate Director from 1984 to 1994. He also served for several years prior thereto with the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
His mother and father trace their roots to the Lazio region of Italy, to the town of Pofi, on the outskirts of Frosinone, near Rome. In fact, Peter returns to his family’s roots often, visiting family on his mother’s side that never left.
Peter N. Silvestri may be an elected Cook County Commissioner, the former president of the wonderful community of Elmwood Park, a highly respected lawyer and professional, but he is also to many of us, a good and faithful friend, role model and someone we can all look up to and be proud of. His continuing service as President of the Italian-American Political Coalition, the political voice of our ethnic community in the Chicago area, and leadership activities in the Justinian Society of Lawyers is further evidence of his valuable leadership.