Letter to the Editor: Kitchens Shows Proven Leadership on Water Quality

Water quality received a lot of attention last year with statewide advocacy focused on this pivotal issue. Do you know the one thing that different water issues and solutions have in common? Joel Kitchens. He is the Assembly’s “go-to guy” on conservation issues. He is also my counterpart in the other house.

As a proven leader on water quality, Joel understands the intricacies and cares about finding real solutions. In the course of the last two sessions, the largest water-quality problems affecting the state were nitrates and nonpoint source pollution, water-quality trading, PFAS, lead laterals, conservation funding for farmers, well remediation, failing septic tanks, coat tar sealants and water infrastructure in state parks.

Joel and I authored legislation on each and every one of these issues! Together, we bridge the gap among political parties, conservationists and business groups; listen to science to lead policy; and make an unstoppable team. The success rate that we have witnessed on water-quality issues is unique and indisputable.

Joel understands that not all changes are legislative, so he has worked tirelessly to lead several important initiatives, including staunchly advocating for revisions to NR 151 to implement new manure-management strategies specific to the karst region; chairing a work group on nitrates; and launching a study with the Friends of Crescent Beach along the Ahnapee River, which expanded into three Lake Michigan counties.

As a community member first and legislator second, Joel is always ready to discuss and problem-solve water-quality issues. We have more work to do next session, and we have already begun the discussions on how to build off our successes, but it works only if the partnership is intact.

That’s why I’m asking for your support to return Joel Kitchens to the State Assembly to continue our work on the most vital resource we have: water. Our quality of life, economy and health depend on the progress that Joel has fought for and will continue to seek.

Sen. Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay)