Three 2-year terms
Andrew Kitslaar, incumbent
Brian Holmquist, incumbent
Jennifer Kuhr, incumbent
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I was born and raised in Monona, lifeguarding, teaching swim lessons, playing tee-ball, soccer, and using the library. I loved Monona as a child and now I love the city as a homeowner. Professionally, I worked in county government that provided me the experience of working with budgets, public safety issues, and with municipalities. I am currently in my first term as alderperson and have served on the Community Development Authority, Library Board, Tourism Commission, Parks & Recreation Board, and the Public Safety and Sustainability Committees. I also serve as a board member of the Monona Grove Education Foundation.
2. Some Dane County municipalities provide opportunities to register and vote at alternate locations, such as libraries. What steps, if any, should your city take to make it easier for residents to register and vote? Voting should be easy and accessible to all citizens. I’m proud that Monona has made registration and voting easier by including an absentee voting opportunity at one of our residential care facilities and at city hall where staff guide residents through the process. Monona can draw broader attention to voting through PSAs on our radio station WVMO, post advertisements at community gathering spots, and provide information through the city website and social media accounts. Monona should also explore gathering feedback during and after the election cycle to evaluate any adjustments to ensure all residents are able to vote.
3. What issues in development and transportation does your city need to address? We need to ensure Monona Transit and Monona Lift continues to offer appropriate services to all city residents. Important too, is developing safe biking and walking routes to schools, businesses, and the city center. Redevelopment is also vital to the strength of Monona. With Riverfront moving forward, it is time to evaluate the city’s needs and establish a vision for future redevelopment of several areas on Monona Drive and Broadway. Strategic redevelopment can draw businesses and patrons into Monona and now is the time to take the next step.
4. What other important issue faces your city, and how would you address it? Monona’s facilities are aging and need work. I will continue pushing forward a plan to work with city staff to evaluate city facilities and establish an appropriate strategy to address our needs. More broadly, Monona needs to attract and retain our excellent employees, develop sustainability programs as a city boarding Lake Monona, all the while continuing to be fiscally responsible. I will continue to provide leadership that establishes the City of Monona as a proud example to surrounding communities on what a city can do and how to do it.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I have spent my career as a school-based speech-language pathologist representing and advocating on behalf of a diverse array of stakeholders, and hope to continue this work with the Monona City Council. I recently completed a candidate training with Emerge Wisconsin, am active in my local teachers association, and serve on the Monona Landmarks Commission and the Friends of the Monona Senior Center Board. With my husband, I co-lead the Bridge Lake-Point Waunona Community Garden. I’m skilled in community organizing and outreach, and care deeply about preserving Monona’s many green spaces, including its Ho-Chunk mounds.
2. Some Dane County municipalities provide opportunities to register and vote at alternate locations, such as libraries. What steps, if any, should your city take to make it easier for residents to register and vote? In an ideal world, the State of Wisconsin would implement Automatic Voter Registration. As it stands, I believe the City of Monona can find other means of facilitating voter registration and polling access (including expanding hours for early voting). When new families move to the city, procure a library card, or register for city services, I believe they should be given the opportunity to register to vote. Monona also is fortunate to have its own public transportation services, including the Monona Express, which could be used to bus voters with accessibility or mobility issues to the polls.
3. What issues in development and transportation does your city need to address? Monona is a “landlocked” community, bordered by lake Monona and Madison, and its leadership therefore must be particularly creative in how it develops and maintains the city’s existing footprint. Monona currently is working toward becoming a fully “Dementia Friendly” city, and strives to make its green spaces and public facilities – including City Hall and the Public Library – more accessible to people of all abilities. The continuation of this work, in addition to improving bike path maintenance and accessibility, and adding bike racks in front of more local businesses, is essential to meeting our residents’ needs and encouraging visitor traffic.
4. What other important issue faces your city, and how would you address it? My priorities as a candidate for Alderperson will be to provide input and a next-generation voice to the community on the development of the city, including the ongoing Yahara Riverfront project. I also hope to contribute to the ongoing efforts of the Council to sustain and enhance Monona’s excellent public services, including its volunteer fire/EMT and police departments, and ensure that Monona's substantial senior population is civically and socially engaged through a greater number of Town Hall-style events at the Monona Senior Center and assisted/senior living facilities.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? My service as Alderperson for Monona and as the Chair of the Occupational Therapy Credentialing Board for the state prepares me to honor the process of governmental decision making, encourage ongoing public participation, and effectively manage budgets. My experience as an Administrator in Student Services and Occupational Therapist with Madison Metropolitan School District, as a small business owner, and as a former supervisor in an inpatient psychiatric hospital equips me to make tough analytical decisions. My education: Bachelor degree in Psychology - Calvin College, Masters degree in Occupational Therapy - Pacific University.
2. Some Dane County municipalities provide opportunities to register and vote at alternate locations, such as libraries. What steps, if any, should your city take to make it easier for residents to register and vote? Information regarding registration, voting, and election laws in the State of Wisconsin are available at the Wisconsin Elections Commission (www.gab.wi.gov/elections-voting). The city of Monona takes every effort to follow the election laws while addressing any barriers for residents to register and vote. One specific step was updating our voting machines, including machines that were accessible to individuals with disabilities. Register and vote!
3. What issues in development and transportation does your city need to address? The City of Monona partnered with the University of Wisconsin for the first ever UniverCity Year. This partnership connects education with city-initiated projects. The housing and economic development project provided specific recommendations to inform redevelopment goals and site identification (focus areas included: affordable housing, preservation of single-family neighborhoods, and development of mixed used and commercial real estate). Another project was in the area of active transportation asking the question “how to make transportation safer and more accessible”. The results included recommendations for the City as decisions are made regarding our transportation infrastructure. (www.univercity.wisc.edu/monona)
4. What other important issue faces your city, and how would you address it? One of the most pressing issues is how to address our city's aging facilities. Most of the city’s facilities have received ongoing maintenance and updates over the years, however, the return on investment with these ongoing maintenance projects is becoming unsustainable. In addition, many of these facilities have become inadequate to house our city’s programs and services - leading to concerns about compromised efficiency and effectiveness of such programs and services. Beyond city facilities, we have a unique challenge regarding development and/or redevelopment. Continuing to find additional ways to address growth and in-fill within our landlocked community is paramount.
1. What in your professional and community background qualifies you for this elective office? I have served the City of Monona as alder since I was appointed by City Council in May of 2017 to fill the seat vacated by the current mayor. I co-chair the Public Works, Public Safety and Transit Committees and chair the Community Media Committee. I hold a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the UW-Stevens Point. I have worked the last 17 years in higher education where I have held various leadership positions. I am involved in employee shared governance at UW-Madison as an elected representative. I volunteer with the River Alliance of Wisconsin and WVMO.
2. Some Dane County municipalities provide opportunities to register and vote at alternate locations, such as libraries. What steps, if any, should your city take to make it easier for residents to register and vote? The city of Monona currently offers in person absentee voting during business hours at city hall. The city could explore opening up registration and absentee voting at the library on weekends to allow working individuals’ greater access to the polls leading up to elections. The City Council should work with the city clerk to reach out to our constituents to see if there is a demand for this service. The extended hours could be implemented on a trial basis to evaluate the need in a municipality of our size.
3. What issues in development and transportation does your city need to address? As a landlocked city, I feel Monona must focus on creative redevelopment. Over the past decade Monona has utilized tax incremental financing tools to reinvigorate lagging parcels of land by creating new senior housing. More recently, the city obtained a large parcel of land near the Yahara River that will be re-developed into mixed-use commercial and apartments adding to the city’s tax base. Monona also needs to explore how to maintain the Monona Express and Monona Lift transportation services. The Monona Lift is a vital service for seniors, allowing them to remain active, independent, and in their own homes.
4. What other important issue faces your city, and how would you address it? Monona has a mixed identity as a small town in a big city. The residents of Monona are a mix of long-time residents, young professionals, and families. Addressing the needs of its aging population and keeping ALL residents, regardless of age, engaged and active in their community will be one of my top priorities. I want to keep Monona vital by supporting the senior center, parks department, and library. Smart, creative redevelopment will broaden our tax base and help provide the funding necessary to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy.