HarborPark resident Rhonda Jenkins will have competition in her return bid as the city’s District 2 alderman.
Jenkins is one of four candidates applying for the District 2 vacancy, which was created when former Ald. John Fox resigned on Feb. 8 due to family obligations. Other candidates include former Kenosha News photojournalist Bill Siel, local musician Sylvester Costabile and writer-designer Jason Hedman.
Application deadline is Wednesday. Those interested must be a qualified elector of the district, which is comprised of Wards 5, 6, 7 and 8. Applicants should be available to appear before the Kenosha Common Council on April 1 to answer questions relative to their qualifications.
The term is through April 20, 2020.
Jenkins, citing family reasons, did not seek re-election following her 2014-16 term. She was a committee member for public works and storm water utility.
“I want to continue the forward progress that is occurring with the current administration while serving my community,” Jenkins said. “I can start doing so the moment I am appointed with no learning curve required due to my previous time in the position.”
Siel covered nearly every facet of the community for over 35 years with the Kenosha News. The longtime downtown resident is former president of the Kenosha Newspaper Guild TNG-CWA Local 34159 and served as a lead bargaining member during several rounds of contract negotiations.
“I am interested in being involved in the district’s future as it continues to evolve from an industrial past into a diverse business district and growing residential area,” Siel said. “The second district is also a growing cultural site for seasonal events. This is really building expectation each year for all of Kenosha to enjoy.”
Costabile, a lifelong Kenosha resident, has lived in District 2 for over 20 years. He’s best known as the man behind Cy’s Piano Jams, a revolving musical act performed at local bars and entertainment venues. Costabile said the city should prioritize its capital improvement spending with a focus on roads and public safety.
“While I agree we should continue to rehab the older buildings, to including building a new city hall, I also believe we need to fix the deterioration of our crumbling roads and make that a top priority,” Costabile said. “I also feel that we need to protect the community better by adding six new police officers over the next two years.”
Hedman holds a bachelor’s degree in art and history from University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The longtime downtown resident was hired by Carmichael Communications after spending over a decade serving local residents as a bartender.
“I am applying for this position because this is a step forward in my life,” Hedman said. “I am someone who cares deeply about Kenosha.”
Candidates will appear in front of the council next Monday. Public hearings are limited to five-minute periods, but can be extended by majority vote, according to Kenosha City Clerk Debra Salas. After each applicant speaks and the questioning is complete, open voting from the alderman will commence.
The successful candidate must receive a majority of the votes from the aldermen present. The applicant appointed to fill the vacancy will be sworn in on the date of the appointment, but may not vote on any issue before the council on the date of appointment.
The council, which meets on the first and third Monday of each month, is comprised of Mayor John Antaramian and 17 aldermen.
Aldermanic elections are held on the first Tuesday of April in even-numbered years.