Letter to the Editor: Support for Kitchens Re-election

As a teacher and parent of three school-age children, I wholeheartedly support the re-election of Joel Kitchens. It is no secret that Wisconsin Republicans have not always been viewed in the most positive light in regard to public education policy over the last few years. Joel is a huge exception. He is a pragmatist who sees things the way that they are and not through some political or special interest lens. His background as past president of the Sturgeon Bay School Board gives him valuable insight into the realities and successes of Wisconsin’s public schools.

During his freshman term in Madison, Joel’s own peers thought highly enough of his abilities and insights to place him in the position of vice chair of the Assembly Education Committee. Joel is not the type of legislator that suggests or supports legislation in an attempt to grandstand or get his name in the media. I believe that his goal is to truly make his district and state a better place that works for everyone regardless of political affiliation. He consistently demonstrates this by consulting with a variety of stakeholders including teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, and school boards. He sees no benefit in a situation where there is animosity between public schools and government. The stakes are too high to get it wrong.

One of the initiatives that Joel is currently working on is continuing to build on partnerships between schools and the workforce to better connect Wisconsin students with career choices and opportunities that will not only serve them and their communities well, but also alleviate the possibility of crippling student loan debt. Joel has also addressed the difficulties that some school districts have in finding substitute teachers because of legislative rules limiting the number of hours retired teachers can work in schools every year and he is investigating ways to streamline teacher re-licensing to prevent undue duplication of work and expense for teachers. In addition, and perhaps most importantly, Joel has made a positive impact on Wisconsin educational policy in a way many cannot see – by stopping or altering ineffective legislation before it ever gets to the point where it will cause disruption to the core tasks for which schools exist to accomplish.

Please join me in voting for Joel Kitchens on November 8th.


Barry Mellen

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Article Comments