Meet the candidates: Kewaunee Common Council’s District 2, Feb. 16 primary election
KEWAUNEE – Three candidates to represent District 2 on the Kewaunee Common Council are facing off in the Feb. 16 primary election.
Jeremy John Robillard, Wendy Shelton and Evan Gibbs filed candidacy papers to run for the seat currently held by Jeff Dworak, who is not seeking re-election. The top two vote-getters in the primary will have their names on the ballot in the April 6 general election.
Also on the primary ballot is a statewide race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, which has seven candidates vying to replace Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who was appointed in January 2019 to replace then-superintendent Tony Evers upon Evers' inauguration as governor but is not running to retain the position.
Common Council candidates were sent questions by the Kewaunee County Star-News and limited to 100-word responses. Their following answers have been lightly edited for clarity and grammar. Here's what they had to say:
- Age: 31
- Current occupation: Union carpenter
- Family: Wife, Tabatha; children, Ryder and Ryleigh Koss
- How long have you lived in Kewaunee? Three years
- Public service experience: No answer given.
- Contact information: [email protected]
Jeremy John Robillard
- Age: 46
- Current occupation: No answer given.
- Family: John, Karen, Judd and Teal Robillard
- How long have you lived in Kewaunee? Lifetime
- Public service experience: Volunteering with the Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, including coordinating our winter market, Christkindlmarkt, and attempting to bring the National Main Street Program to Kewaunee. I’ve also had a hand in student government, both at Kewaunee High School and Northland College where I studied Conflict Resolution and Comparative Religious Studies.
- Contact information: 414-533-5570 or [email protected]
- Age: 56
- Current occupation: No answer given.
- Education: Bachelor's degree in psychology, master's degree in social work
- Family: Husband, John; five grown children.
- How long have you lived in Kewaunee? In District 2 since 2015
- Public service experience: Volunteer with numerous organizations, including Friends of the Library Used Bookstore, Farm Technology Days, Kewaunee County Fair, Christkindlmarkt, Holy Rosary Church (children’s choir, marketing committee, rummage sale)
- Contact information: [email protected] or wendykewaunee.com
Why are you running for office?
Gibbs: I want to do anything I can to help my community. I believe too little has been done for too long and it's time for some new, younger blood to get involved.
Robillard: In light of recent world, national and regional events, I have decided to do what I can locally and run for Kewaunee Common Council.
Shelton: I have a strong belief in community involvement and I would like to forge a better partnership between the community and the council to make decisions for the city.
What makes you the better candidate for this office?
Gibbs: Although I've only lived here a short time, I'm fully invested in raising my family here. I want to do what I can to help our city grow and flourish, for my family and all the families who call Kewaunee home.
Robillard: The city of Kewaunee has tough decisions to make in the near future that will impact our community. Thankfully we have a comprehensive (although imperfect) long-term plan and the right people in the right positions to help facilitate and coordinate a path forward. With your help I’m hoping to add my name to the list of folks who are making a difference in all things small to tall.
Shelton: I’ve been in leadership positions in many local not-for-profit organizations. I am currently the president-elect for Kewaunee Rotary Club; have served as a board member and secretary for the Marquette Historic District; have been on the marketing committee for Holy Rosary School; and served as treasurer for a private school. Given my experience, I feel my skills are well-suited to work for the community as an alderperson.
Is there a specific issue on which you plan to focus when in office?
Gibbs: My focus is developing our harbor area with the goal of drawing private investors. Tourism has taken a hit from our lack of easy lake access. Without a thriving harbor, Kewaunee is going to continue to struggle.
My other goal is to secure funding to build Kewaunee a community center. There's little for our children to do during the colder months. I believe we need a dedicated community center where activities can be done year-round.
I also plan on working closely with our chamber and local businesses to find ways to market Kewaunee better and make our town a strong tourist destination.
Robillard: Issues include, but are not limited to, expanding our tax base, improving our world-class harbor and marina, and determining the proper use of the former Marquette School property while remaining transparent and fiscally responsible. Our community has also expressed interest in addressing infrastructure issues such as sidewalk and road maintenance as well as re-examining ordinances regarding city chickens.
Shelton: I would like to promise the citizens of (District 2) that their tax dollars are being spent wisely. I’ll also strive to maintain a safe, family-friendly community that ensures Kewaunee stays a great place to live.
Is there anything on which you would work with the council to better address the COVID-19 pandemic locally?
Gibbs: I do not support any mask mandates. I feel every individual has the right to protect themselves as they see fit.
Robillard: We’ve all been affected in some way by COVID-19. The service industry — where I’ve invested much of my time and talents — has been hit hard. The task of local government should include coordinating with our health department as well as state and federal authorities to further facilitate navigating through these times. Vaccinating our citizens in a timely fashion is critical to getting us all back to work and doing the things we love, like getting haircuts and having Friday night perch.
We need to remain vigilant moving forward to continue creating a prosperous and peaceful future for the city of Kewaunee.
Shelton: We have wonderful first responders in this town and they need our support. Police, firemen, ambulance and health care workers regularly help us through troubled times, on both a community and personal level. These people should feel confident and secure that the city supports them as they help us through this difficult COVID-19 pandemic.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Meet the candidates: Kewaunee Common Council's District 2, Feb. 16 primary election