Jacksonport Town Chair

Alvin Birnschein

Age: 70

Family: Widowed, 2 grown children

Education: Sevastopol High School; University of Wisconsin –Farm Short Course

Occupation: Door County Sheriff’s Deputy, 25 years, retired ; Owner of Birnschein Trenching, LLC

Previous Elected Office: Jacksonport Town Supervisor (8 years); Jacksonport Town Chairman (8 years)

Relevant Experience/Civic Involvement: Treasurer and trustee, St. Michael Parish (10 years); Chairman of Finance Council, Stella Maris Parish (4 years); Jacksonport Advancement Corporation; Past Treasurer of Sturgeon Bay Jaycees

Why are you the best choice for town chair?

I have a lifetime commitment to the Jacksonport community and my church. I am conservative and fiscally responsible. My philosophy has always been to treat everyone equally, to represent everyone with respect and honesty. I have always been available and ready to listen to people’s concerns.

Are there services that the town provides that should be cut or scaled back to save money?

The current financial uncertainties should cause the town board to reevaluate all services to see where we can operate more efficiently and save the town tax dollars.

Are there services that we should take on?

I will listen to town residents’ concerns and needs, then give careful consideration to how we can serve the majority of the people in the most cost-effective way.

What other issues are a high priority for the town in the term ahead?

I recognize the significant reduction in shared revenues and highway aids and the town will need to adjust its budget dollars to live within our own means.

What is the one thing the board can do to make the town a better place to live?

We are unique. We have outstanding fire and rescue department, a nice park and beach, and some businesses. We cannot stop Jacksonport’s future growth or we will become stagnant, yet controlled growth and rural character is something most of our residents want to maintain.

Kari Anderson

Age: 54

Family: Married, two adult sons

Occupation: Artist

Education: Monona Grove High School; Madison Area Technical College, Associate’s Degree Graphic Arts

Previous Elected Office: Serving 4th term on the Door County Board of Supervisors, representing District 17

Relevant experience/ Civic Involvement:

Way back in the mid 90’s Jacksonport Town Chairman, Frank Bley, appointed me to a town planning committee, which was the beginning of my steady involvement with Jacksonport town government. As stated above I am currently serving my fourth term as a County Board supervisor, representing District 17. My involvement on the County Board keeps me on top of topics that effect Jacksonport. I have served on the Resource Planning Committee for 3 terms, also I have been Chairman of Emergency Services for 2 terms, Community Outreach Program/Long Term Support Committee Chairman for 2 terms, Door County Library President for 2 terms, Property Committee for 3 terms and I presently serve as chairman of the Board of Health. I have also served on the Door County Board of Adjustment for 5 years. All of these experiences give me confidence that I can handle the position of the town chairman for Jacksonport, population 810.

Another part of my life is my artwork, I am a watercolor artist, and even though both of my sons have graduated from Sevastopol School, I continue to teach a 5th grade winter watercolor workshop there every winter. It has become a bit of a tradition, and I have been doing this workshop for 20 years. It keeps me in touch with kids, teachers, the school and the community. I am very worried about what will happen to kids, teachers and public schools as a result of the newly passed Governors Budget Repair Bill. We will have to make the best of it for now, but it seems that no one is happy about the situation.

Why are you the best choice for town chair?

I feel that I am the better choice for our town because I have been actively involved in local government for the past 15 years. I have been attending town board meetings regularly for almost all of that time, and I have been closely following the issues before the Jacksonport Town Board. I have the ability to run an orderly meeting, allowing everyone to participate in an orderly way. I have always finished positions that I have been elected or appointed to fulfill. Unfortunately, Jacksonport has a recent history of their chairmen quitting, for all sorts of reasons. Many people have asked me if I plan to stick with it if it gets tough. The answer is YES. It will be tough. We have a zero increase levy limit to deal with for the next two years, a 3 percent road aids reduction from the state, state aid for recycling is also being cut in the new state budget. These are only a few changes on the horizon. Add in fuel prices, which will effect road repair prices, and on and on. We, as a small town, need to be patient and work together to solve some of these problems on our own. It will be a challenge, and I am ready for it. Thank you for your support.

Are there services that the town provides that should be cut or scaled back to save money?

Good question, considering how difficult it is going to be to operate a small town of 810 people under the current restraints of the Governor’s Budget Repair Bill. Some of my friends think I am a glutton for punishment, but, in all seriousness, I do think that I have the skills necessary to be a town chairman. My experience on the county board has given me a strong understanding of issues facing our state, our county and Jacksonport.

What is the one thing the board can do to make the town a better place to live?

My husband, Paul Witalison and I have lived in Jacksonport since 1982, our home is the historic old Groveland School. We are proud to call Jacksonport our home.