Egg Harbor Village President Nancy Fisher will not run for another term in April. Joe Smith, current village board trustee, is running unopposed and will likely take her place.
Carol Thompson (CT): Why did you decide to run?
Joe Smith (JS): I’ve lived in the village of Egg Harbor for three years now and I’ve been working there for almost seven. I’ve always been really interested in what’s going on in town, not only business wise but the government aspect, the back story of why things are the way they are, making sure that businesses are able to flourish and we can continue to bring business to Door County.
Egg Harbor in the last few years has made a lot of positive steps toward public beautification and invested in things like the beach and the marina and the new visitor center. Just to be part of that is something I’d really enjoy doing.
CT: What’s your experience with village government?
JS: I’m very new. I have a degree in public administration, environmental policy and planning from UW-Green Bay. I don’t use it in my current job – I run shipwrecked in Egg Harbor, as well as Cooper’s Corner in Fish Creek and Bistro 42 in Carlsville.
I’ve been interested in things going on in Egg Harbor, starting with sign ordinances and parking ordinances and things the businesses were very concerned about. I started paying attention to those things and going to all the village board meetings, and realized that [government] was something I wanted to get involved in.
I started off on the plan commission in Egg Harbor probably two years ago, then I ran last year for village board trustee and was defeated by two votes. Then, finally, I was appointed [to the village board in November 2012] when Barbara Cammack decided to move to Florida.
CT: Are you concerned with your lack of experience?
JS: No, I think being a fresh set of eyes and somebody who’s not entrenched in “business as usual” is really my strongest qualification for the job. Being the youngest person on the board makes me not stuck in doing things one way because it’s the way it’s always been done.
CT: How will your degree help?
JS: It certainly gives me the background of the processes and the very textbook ‘this is the way it should work.’ What I’m most excited to learn is the real world application for the theories and things like that that I learned in school.
CT: Is there anything you hope to accomplish or change?
JS: Egg Harbor has been on a pretty good track of continual improvements, so long as these improvements don’t come in huge chunks. It’s once we start lumping them all together and trying to do these massive things that we’re going to incur huge debt. That’s what I’m nervous about. I don’t think there’s anything like that on the radar, but certainly things will come up.
CT: You’re not a property owner. Will that affect your decisions as village president?
JS: You don’t need to be a property owner to care about what goes on in your community. I’ve lived and worked in Egg Harbor for a long time now, and even though I don’t own property, I manage a restaurant. The economic wellbeing of the village directly relates to my compensation. The better the restaurant does, the more I can earn.
Living in Egg Harbor is a privilege. It’s the folks that live here 365 days a year, the 201 of us that are on the sign, that are just in heaven because if it wasn’t for everybody else, the non-resident property owners contributing to the property tax, we wouldn’t have such a great community.
Not being a property owner, yeah, sorry, I’m not. I’m there 365 days a year and live right in the middle of downtown and see everything that goes on. It’s inconsequential to me.
CT: Why do you think you’re running unopposed?
JS: We are a village of 201 people. When we get most attendance at the village board meeting is when there’s something foul going on. It seems like people are most often interested when they’re opposed to something. I’m interested from going to a utility committee meeting or going to a public art committee meeting. It’s all the little parts that come together to make the village great, and I think that’s awesome.