By Caleb Frostman, Executive Director, Door County Economic Development Corporation
Since arriving on the peninsula just after Thanksgiving, I have been blown away by the level of civic engagement of the Door County citizenry. The engagement isn’t always civil, but it usually is; it’s not always in alignment with what I think and feel is most right, but often it is; and it’s not immune to name-calling and becoming personal, but is most commonly a principles-based clashing of ideas. No matter how acrimonious it can get, the engagement, to me, is inspiring.
Within my first few weeks on the job, a wise local warned me that the average Door County citizen is passionate, opinionated and stubborn, which I have found to be mostly true. What I have found to be just as true was his follow up: That that passion and stubbornness are borne out of deep care and concern for their community and that which those citizens believe to be best for them and their neighbors.
I see that care and hear that concern at city council and county board meetings, in discussions with local business owners, in meetings with fellow nonprofit executives, and to a less collaborative extent (to put it lightly), on social media.
One of my major motivating factors in pursuing the executive director role at the Door County Economic Development Corporation last fall was a longstanding aspiration to unlock the secret code of getting people from all political persuasions in the public and private sectors to work together to achieve the objective greatest good, which I acknowledge is a lofty (and some would say naïve) goal.
Door Kewaunee Legislative Days, fully developed and now in its eighth iteration, is a shining example of that kind of collaboration across the political spectrum for the greatest community good. When one makes eye contact while conversing with a legislator for whom they would never consider voting, or sits next to a person whose personal perspectives and priorities are not their own, and together they express genuine concern, offer joint solutions, and provide support for a common agenda affecting our region, something special happens. Not only do we find strong consensus on meaningful local issues, we identify with our neighbors, regardless of whether they watch MSNBC or Fox News, prefer Rush Limbaugh or Joe Scarborough, or feel Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers is the best Packers quarterback since Bart Starr.
One of the greatest attributes of Door Kewaunee Legislative Days is its inclusive nature: Anyone is welcome and encouraged to join the roughly 100-person delegation this spring as we press for timely, measurable improvement on local issues that would not be easily resolved outside of legislative and state agency action. You don’t need to be an expert on any of our anticipated agenda items; you just need to be an engaged, willing, and passionate resident of Door or Kewaunee County. We are offering public information and training sessions (see below for dates and locations) so delegates can be confident and comfortable articulating our region’s needs to their legislators and appropriate state agencies.
Consider this a formal invitation to join us in Madison on April 5-6 to inform our legislators of our area’s issues and champion for real solutions with your neighbors. Yes, even the neighbors you’ve unfollowed or blocked on Facebook. You might find that you have more in common than you think, like a deep love of your shared community and a mutual desire to see it thrive.
Delegates can register to attend Door Kewaunee Legislative Days at dklegislativedays.com. The registration deadline is Friday, March 3, and the cost is $30, which covers three meals and a shirt.
Public information sessions about Door Kewaunee Legislative Days will be held at the following times and locations:
- 1 pm Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Nasewaupee Town Hall, 3388 County Road PD, Sturgeon Bay.
- 4 pm Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Liberty Grove Town Hall, 11161 Old Stage Road.
- 4 pm Wednesday, March 1, at Algoma Public Library, 406 Fremont St., Algoma.
Training sessions for registered delegates will be held on the following dates at these locations (all times are 4:30 – 5:30 pm):
- Monday, March 20, Kewaunee County Public Health & Human Services Center Training Room, 810 Lincoln St., Kewaunee.
- Wednesday, March 22, Sister Bay Fire Station, 2258 Mill Road, Sister Bay.
- Thursday, March 23, Community Room, Sturgeon Bay City Hall, 421 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.
Any additional questions can be answered by this year’s co-chairs, Caleb Frostman (920.743.3113 ext. 203, [email protected]) and Jennifer Brown (920.487.5233, [email protected]), or by either of the counties’ UW-Extension officers, Rob Burke ([email protected]) and Claire Thompson ([email protected]).