History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Wisconsin - People - Bios

Peter Burgelis


Primary Involvements:

Politician- First openly LGBT Milw County Supervisor
Mortgage Professional





Peter Burgelis is the first openly LGBT person elected to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, elected to represent Milwaukee County District 15 in April 2022.

Burgelis is a first generation Latvian-American, born and raised in Milwaukee County. He graduated from Marquette University High School and the University of Louisville with a bachelor's degree in political science.

Peter has worked as a home mortgage lender for the past 18 years. Prior to that, he was executive director for the non-profit Latvian Center Garezers in Michigan and co-owned a restaurant business.

Since returning to Milwaukee in 2011, Burgelis has continued to be active in the non-profit community and enjoys supporting good causes and local businesses. His current affiliations include Wisconsin Latvian Cultural Foundation, Latvian Center Garezers, and Latvian Lutheran Holy Trinity Church of Milwaukee.

In addition to his affiliations with various other community organizations, Peter has also served on the Board of Directors of the LGBTQ+ charitable foundation, the Cream City Foundation, beginning in 2018.

Peter originally ran for 11th District Alderman of the City of Milwaukee in April 2020. While unsuccessful in that campaign, he had introduced himself to the people in the area, and saw a need for better leadership on the County Board in 2020 and 2021 in the midst of the Coronovirus pandemic. He decided to run for County Supervisor of District 15 in the election of April 2022.

Upon his election to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, Peter wasted no time going to work for his constituents. He immediately released a message to his constituents reading:

    Dear Neighbors,

    Thank you for your trust and electing me to represent the 15th District. When meeting with neighbors, most are concerned with public safety, specifically gun violence and reckless driving. Neighbors also want to ensure that our parks are maintained and the long trend of budget cuts and neglected facilities improves. With once-in-a-generation American Rescue Plan Act funding, we have an opportunity to invest millions of federal dollars where they will make the biggest impact to our community.

    Our community also suffers from unfair and biased shared revenue from the state. For too long municipalities have struggled to get their fair share of state revenue. I applaud the County Supervisors who have asked the United States Justice Department to review the unfair revenue policies of the lawmakers in Madison. Milwaukee County is the economic engine of Wisconsin and we must demand that our tax dollars are invested back in our county. As a large urban community, Milwaukee County has different needs than the rest of the state and in order to meet the needs of our diverse citizens, our county must have local control of revenue.

    The Wisconsin tax system has a perverse reliance on property taxes where homeowners foot the bill for the community, while visitors don’t contribute to transportation, infrastructure, public spaces, public safety or repairing potholes. Keeping our tax revenue in the community would allow us to make Milwaukee County an even more exciting visitor destination, and tourists could help alleviate high property taxes.

    Keeping in touch with you is important to me. Please alert me when great things happen in our community. I want to celebrate with you! Also, please reach out when you see something that should be improved. I want to work to make our community safer and more prosperous for all residents.

    I look forward to hearing from you!


Burgelis also displayed his LGBTQ+ pride by leaving small desktop Gay Pride (rainbow) flags in a container outside of his office, free for any citizen to take, and often displayed one on his desk during County Supervisor meetings.

With the arrival of Gay Pride Month in June 2022, he also took the opportunity to recognize some of the LGBTQ+ leaders of the County by making motions to issue Citations in recognition of their work. The two people he sponsored for Citations in June 2022 were Janice Colby and Don Schwamb (see press release to right). Also recognized that month was Dr. Brice Smith, sponsored by another Supervisor.

More information about Peter can be found at the following links:

With Mayor Tom Barrett, summer 2019

At Hamburger Mary's, 2019

International LGBT Leaders Conference,
JW Marriott, Wash DC, Nov 2019

2020 Campaign for City Alderman:
Campaigning in the snow
2020 Campaign for City Alderman:
Fundraiser at 'This Is It' bar
2020 Campaign for City Alderman:
First in line for Early Voting
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
Campaign banner on Facebook
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
Laying the campaign groundwork at home
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
Speaking to a packed house
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
Mingling on a campaign stop
2022 Campaign for County Supervisor:
Encouraging early voting
Swearing In as first openly-LGBTQ+ Milwaukee County Supervisor, 2022



With dog Booker in park, 2019

County Supervisor campaign photo, 2022

With dog Booker, 2021

News Release for LGBTQ Activist honors, June 2022
(view Colby citation)
(view Schwamb citation)

Credits: web site concept, design and contents by Don Schwamb;
Last updated: July-2022.

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