When John Olszewski Jr., defeated Republican opponent Al Redmer Jr. in November’s general election for Baltimore County Executive, it completed a four-year journey from what could have been the end of the former state delegate’s political career.
Back in 2014, Olszewski suffered what, until then, had been the unthinkable: he, a Democrat, lost to a Republican (John Ray Salling) in the race for State Senator.
Up to that year, Dundalk had never elected a Republican to the state legislature (Republicans also swept all three local delegate seats that year).
According to Olszewski, people didn’t give him much of chance and wrote him off after his hard loss in 2014.
“But I believed in Baltimore County, and I believed in each of you, and in turn, you believed in me,” he noted.
During the prmary election in June, Olszewski was third in the polls behind opponents Vicki Almond and Jim Brochin. In a close contest, Olszewski defeated Brochin by 17 votes.
The winner couldn’t be determined until after the absentee and provisional ballots were counted, and then a recount of all votes.
The general election was less nerve-wracking for Olszewski. He beat Redmar by a vote of 174,406 to 129,209.
Olszewski’s, “people-powered campaign” consisted of him and his team going door to door, reaching out to people personally, mainly on the west-side of Baltimore County.
After failing to gain a seat in the Senate, Olszewski created “A Better Baltimore County”, a group that would allow him to do unofficial campaigning, making education one of his primary focuses.
He was the first to enter the county executive’s race in 2017.
Being a public school teacher for almost a decade, Olszewski stated he wanted to increase free preschool and community college, increase minimum wage, build more affordable housing and to progressively move county government forward.
Olszewski is committed to creating an even more transparent and open government.
According to Olszewski, he will take new ideas, no matter where they come from, because the importance of Baltimore County and the people the live in it, is more significant than politics.