It takes a lot of vision and hard work to run a city like ours.
Everything we enjoy about Bloomington and our community is a product of that investment. I’d like to serve as your mayor and help our city—and everyone in it—grow and thrive by working to accelerate economic growth, invest in infrastructure, and provide balanced leadership for our diverse community.
With more than 25 years of business experience, I know how to keep many interconnected yet independent functions in sync, moving toward the overall goal. Here are just a few of the things I’ve accomplished and ways I’ve contributed to our community over the years.
My entire career has revolved around identifying areas of potential, weeding out the problems, and defining a solid path for growth. My experience will be a powerful resource for Building Bloomington Together.
Passionate Entrepreneur: Over the years, I’ve started and maintained six businesses.
Business Consultant: I’ve helped more than a dozen owners grow and accelerate their businesses.
Member of the Illinois State University Incubator & Makerspace Team: Being part of this team has allowed me to play an integral part in developing and delivering the concept for our community.
Operations Director: For the past year, I’ve been on staff at Vale Church.
Business Mentor with 2112: This is a creative industry incubator, where I’ve been able to advise entrepreneurs within the arts to adopt processes, management skills, and growth strategies for success.
In addition to my work experience, I’m heavily involved in community service for both Bloomington and Normal. These opportunities have given me extensive insight into the complex nature of making a city thrive.
- Bloomington Zoning Board of Appeals (2020–present)
- Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) – Entrepreneurship / Corporate Engagement Committee (2019–present)
- Illinois Small Business Development Center of McLean County Board (2018–present)
- Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council OneVoice Trip Representative in Washington D.C. (2018, 2019, 2020)
- Business & Economic Development Exploratory Teams (2017–2018)
- Economic Vitality Advisory Group (2018)
- American Red Cross Executive Board (2006–2015) & Disaster Volunteer
- Vision 2040 Committee, Town of Normal (2016)
- Race & Law Enforcement Committee, Town of Normal (2018)
- Town of Normal Comprehensive Plan Development – Economic Vitality (2017)
- Mayoral Election Campaign Team (2017)
- Normal Town Council Campaign Teams (2019)
- TEDxNormal Planning Team (2017–2018)
My name is Mike Straza, and I’m running for mayor of the city of Bloomington.
Bloomington has been home for me since 1983. My family relocated here from Urbana just before I began the seventh grade. I attended BJHS back when it was located at the building on Washington Street. Then at Bloomington High School, I ran cross country and track—an activity that paved my path toward a running scholarship at Illinois State University a few years later.
I also met my wife, Erin, at BHS. My high school sweetheart is now a writer and communications consultant (primarily for nonprofit organizations). Last year, we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, and we’ve lived in the same house in Ward Five for almost a quarter of a century. I speak for both of us when I say we love our home, our neighborhood, and our community. We love to walk, run, and bike all around—so don’t be surprised if you see us out and about!
At ISU, I focused on economics and business. I find nothing more exciting or satisfying than taking an idea from concept to reality. Small business ownership and development is a lifelong passion of mine. And my work over the years shows it, as I’ve had plenty of experience in business ownership, operations management, small business consulting, and community building and volunteering. Right now, I am working on two start-up businesses and serving as the operations director at Vale Church. In all these experiences, I’ve learned a lot about business strategy, taking care of people, and working in teams. Now, I would like to apply all those lessons to benefit our entire community on a larger scale, and I have my sight set on serving as mayor for Bloomington.
Serving you as Bloomington’s mayor would be an honor and joy. Let’s start Building Bloomington Together.