Candidates: Door County Board, District 3

Lora Jorgensen

Jorgensen, 43, has one adult daughter and has spent five years as a Village of Forestville trustee and is the administrator of the Door County Environmental Council. She earned her BA in business administration and sustainable business, at  UW-Green Bay, and sits on the board of directors of the Clean Water Action Council, and participates in Clean Water Lobby Days.

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

Being a trustee for the Village of Forestville and a small-business owner, I am experienced in creating and managing budgets, creative problem-solving, and strategic/long-term planning. I was raised on a four-generation dairy farm in southern Door County. 

During the past two decades, I have watched the landscape of the agricultural industry change drastically, and I have seen the negative impact it has had on our rural communities and how it has degraded our precious natural resources. 

This prompted me to search for solutions. I traveled to Europe, where I studied permaculture, managed grazing and aerated composting (much like methods we used on our family farm for generations). I discovered that this alternative waste-management process also helps to protect groundwater, build soil, maximize efficiency and act as a value-added source of revenue for farms. I worked for two years researching and successfully implementing this process on farms of all sizes throughout the Midwest. 

It was my passion for protecting the environment and rebuilding small, rural communities that inspired me to become involved in local government.

Roy Englebert

Englebert lives with his wife, Joyce, and has three adult children. 

He is a graduate of UW-River Falls, with a B.S. in agriculture education and chemistry education; plus continual classes in finance, insurance and marketing.

Relevant Experience/Civic Engagement

I have 35 years of experience as a sales manager for a major farm-equipment and construction manufacturer. I am currently serving on the Door County Board of Supervisors and have served on 10 oversight committees. I am actively involved in the Forestville-Maplewood Lions Club and local parish church. I am currently serving as the chair for the Town of Forestville.

I have thoughtful, logical and commonsense reasoning skills that enable me to make balanced, impact-sensitive evaluations considering local and all county residents.”

Do you believe the county is doing enough to ensure groundwater quality? If not, what more should the county be doing?

Lora Jorgensen (LJ): The primary focus for Door County right now should be on groundwater and surface water because all industries – tourism, manufacturing, retail, agriculture, health care – and the health of residents depend on it. Intensive, ongoing testing for private wells and surface water to learn where contaminants are coming from and how they move through karst topography is a necessity. This information is vital in setting standards and restrictions that will be stringent enough to protect our resources. 

Researching and implementing alternative methods (such as aerated composting) that remove/reduce water from waste-management systems (residential, municipal and agricultural) are key to long-term sustainability in this fragile area. 

Budgeting tax dollars to assist homeowners, businesses and farms to convert/adapt to these systems is an investment that will pay back enormously over time with the increased health of our water and environment.

Roy Englebert (RE): The county has a broad range of assessment and enforcement tools that it is using wisely to control and stabilize our groundwater quality. This is a very important topic that requires vigilance. As conditions and the industries across our county change, groundwater-quality measures must be considered before approvals, and they must be amended if they are not strong enough to maintain our water purity.

Rural broadband internet access has been cited as a problem by residents and businesses throughout Door County. What should the county do to increase broadband access?

LJ: With the unique topography of Door County come unique challenges, such as unreliable internet and cell-phone service. These services are vital to businesses, emergency services and residents. Long-term budgeting and planning to upgrade and improve this infrastructure is important now and for the future.

RE: The county has been working diligently to bring broadband and 5G capability into all areas. We need to continue our push as a county board to ensure that coverage is completed. I have been part of this effort from the beginning and intend to adamantly push for complete coverage throughout the region. 

Affordable housing continues to be an issue in Door County. Should county government play a role in addressing the shortage of affordable rental units and homes for purchase, and if so, how?

LJ: The lack of affordable housing in Door County is the symptom of several underlying issues that should be a major focus for county government. I do not think that building more apartment rental complexes is the answer. Rather, efforts to promote and subsidize (through low-interest loans) home ownership is more sustainable long-term. 

The lack of year-round employment is a huge factor in affordable housing in northern Door County. Focusing marketing efforts to promote more shoulder and off-season tourism could provide more stable, year-round incomes for families that desire to purchase or build homes in these areas. 

Upgrading and installing vital infrastructure in rural areas (especially southern Door County) also should be a focus for the county. Installing municipal services such as public water and sewer in smaller towns and villages will also promote home ownership and new construction in areas that are impacted by possible water-contamination issues. Restricting the number of private short-term rentals (such as Airbnb and Vrbo) in more populated, year-round communities would also provide more available affordable units.

RE: The county should facilitate additional public/private partnerships to bring additional high-quality rental units and homes to the area. This may mean providing tax incentives to well-established builders and addressing renovations to provide incentives, as well as having oversight on quality. Renters need safe, reasonable rates in buildings that meet all codes and are appropriate for our county’s climate. Owners providing rentals should be inspired to provide this commodity with the quality our county is known for throughout Wisconsin.

What other issues do you hope to engage in as a member of the county board?

LJ: I am very interested in promoting the engagement of the young and elderly demographics in our county. I believe this partnership provides educational opportunities and relationship-building experiences for both demographics. 

I’m also interested in the implementation of more public transportation and providing more adequate health and human services to rural areas of the county.

RE: Our county’s parks and recreation sites, along with hallmark county sites such as the John Miles County Park, require upkeep, improvements and lasting attention. This effort is not just a tourist proposal; it encompasses all of our interests and represents our own care for our community. 

Additionally, the county roads require constant repair as additional tonnage continues to strain their design parameters. Potential heavy-load route designations may be a solution to work through keeping our roads safe for all types of vehicles. 

Now more than ever, my experience will help keep our county strong as we face tough financial decisions and the ramifications of a national pandemic.