Joel Kitchens

Joel Kitchens
Candidate For Assembly District 01

Joel Kitchens

Candidate Background


1117 Cove Rd., Sturgeon Bay, 54235-1032

Phone Number: 
(920) 333-0027
Email Address: 

Candidate Biography

From candidate website

As the son of an FBI special agent, my family moved frequently while I was growing up. I was born in Washington, D.C. I finished elementary school, middle school, high school and college in four different states. While I know that I will never be considered a Door County “native,” Sturgeon Bay has become the hometown I never had as a child.

I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from the Ohio State University and went on to get my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ohio State as well. Following graduation, I married my wife, Sherry Billett, who is also a veterinarian. In 1984, we moved to Sturgeon Bay and started our own veterinary practice. For over 30 years, I managed the business an worked as a farm animal veterinarian in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Sherry continues to operate Peninsula Veterinary Service in Sturgeon Bay.

I have always been passionate about education and believe that the future of our country depends on providing a high quality education for our young people. In 1999, I ran for the Sturgeon Bay School Board during a time of financial crisis for the district. We were able to return the district to sound financial footing and after two years I was elected president of the board. I served as president for 13 years until I resigned to run for the Assembly.

Sherry and I are the proud parents of two adult daughters, Rebecca and Caroline, and a son, Will, who attends Yale University. We are active members of the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church. We belong to the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club and are active in numerous other groups around Door County.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first term in the Assembly and feel truly honored that the people of the 1 st Assembly District have trusted me to represent them. It has been challenging, but it is very rewarding to see so many of my initiatives be signed into law. I am very proud of my roles in securing funding for the Kewaunee Harbor project and the grant to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding which will allow them to improve their infrastructure and continue to create more high-paying jobs. I was honored to receive the Policymaker of the Year award from Gathering Waters for leading the effort to save the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund. Perhaps above all, I am gratified to see great progress being made in writing new rules for manure management that are specific to the Karst region. Our water is a precious asset and the geology of our area is unique. Within the next year we will finally have laws that reflect that. Having learned so much during my first term, I look forward to returning next session and building on these successes. Thank you to everyone in the 1 st Assembly District!

Committee Assignments:
Committee on Education (Vice-chairman)
Committee on Environment and Forestry
Committee on Agriculture
Committee on Tourism
Committee on Workforce Development
Committee on Financial Institutions