Jerry Kleczka

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Jerry Kleczka
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 4th district
In office
April 3, 1984 – January 3, 2005
Preceded by Clement J. Zablocki
Succeeded by Gwen Moore
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
from the 3rd district
In office
Preceded by Casimir Kendziorski
Succeeded by John Norquist
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
from the 7th district
In office
Personal details
Born Gerald Daniel Kleczka
(1943-11-26) November 26, 1943 (age 74)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nationality Polish-American[1]
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
Occupation Accountant

Gerald Daniel "Jerry" Kleczka (born November 26, 1943), an American politician, was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from 1984 to 2005, representing Wisconsin's 4th congressional district. The district includes the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he was born.

Life and career

After graduating from Milwaukee's Don Bosco High School, in 1961, he attended the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee for two years. Afterward, he served as an accountant and a member of the National Guard. Kleczka was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly, serving from 1969 to 1974. Later, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Senate from 1975 to 1984. Kleczka was elected to the House in a special election following the death of Representative Clement Zablocki, defeating Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann in the Democratic primary.

While in Congress, Kleczka was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and later the House Budget Committee. He was known to be one of the more liberal members of Congress and helped to secure money for many programs for education, poverty relief, and housing improvements.

Kleczka was arrested at least twice for drunk driving. A 1995 arrest for drunken driving - his blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit in Virginia - led him to acknowledge his alcoholism and seek treatment. Friends say it softened his rough edges. He turned to God as part of his recovery and continues to meet regularly with fellow recovering alcoholics.[2]

The pronunciation of Kleczka's name often proved baffling to the uninformed. Rep. Frank Annunzio (D-IL) repeatedly butchered it to the point that an exasperated Kleczka took to calling him "Rep. Annunciation."

Kleczka announced his retirement in 2004, and did not run for reelection. He officially retired in January 2005 after 10 terms in Congress, and was succeeded by State Senator Gwen Moore, also a Democrat.


  1. Scott Ingram; Robert Asher (1 January 2009). Polish Immigrants. Infobase Publishing. pp. 91–. ISBN 978-1-4381-0363-1. Retrieved 8 May 2013. 
  2. Kleczka won't run again, by Dave Umhoefer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/24/04

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Clement Zablocki
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Gwen Moore