Utesch announces bid for State Assembly
Lynn Utesch of the Kewaunee County town of Pierce on Tuesday announced his candidacy for Wisconsin’s 1st State Assembly District, which covers all of Door County, most of Kewaunee County and part of Brown County.
A farmer, veteran and clean water advocate, Utesch is running as a Democrat. The seat is currently held by state Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, who has not yet announced whether he will run for a second two-year term in November.
“For too long elected officials have told us what we can’t do,” Utesch said. “We need elected officials who not only can tell us what we can do but who actually listen to the concerns of their constituents.”
Speaking to a group of about 30 friends and supporters, Utesch said Kitchens has had two years to work on the counties’ environmental, health and other issues and “he has yet to produce a bill that is strong enough to deal with issues in our district.”
State Sen. David Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Kewaunee County Democratic Party Chair Mary Dobbins attended the event at the Algoma home of Dale and Mary Goodner, which overlooks Lake Michigan.
Utesch is a founder of the environmental advocacy group, Kewaunee CARES (Citizens Advocating Responsible Stewardship). He and his wife, Nancy, have strongly criticized the Department of Natural Resources and other state agencies for what they say is a lack of transparency and failure to produce solutions to groundwater and surface water pollution in the three-county area.
“The ongoing attack on local control by the Legislature in Madison, which limits the rights of local communities and voters, has left hardworking Wisconsinites feeling threatened and voiceless in a process that is not transparent and open to public dialogue,” Utesch said. “Fast track bills and late night sessions obstructing public participation and representation must end.”
Utesch served in the U.S. Navy from 1981-1985. The couple received the Door County Environmental Council’s Citizens of the Year award for 2015.
“We have seen a degradation in the conservation ethic that has taken place here in the state of Wisconsin,” Utesch said. “It is time that we start working to restore what was given to us by John Muir, Aldo Leopold and Gaylord Nelson.”
A Wisconsin native, Utesch said he and his family have lived in the 1st Assembly District for more than 25 years. For 15 years they lived on Washington Island, where Utesch worked for GTE Telephone and served on the Washington Town Board. In 2004, they moved to a 150-acre farm near Algoma where they raise grass-fed beef. They have five children.
CORRECTION: Lynn Utesch lives in the town of Pierce. His place of residence was misstated in the original version of this story.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Utesch announces bid for State Assembly