Kenosha County Democrats honored two of their own Sunday night for their longtime dedication in elected office and volunteer work.
County Clerk Mary Kubicki and Registrar JoEllyn Storz were named Democrats of the Year at the local Democratic Party’s annual dinner at the Italian American Club.
“This is great honor,” said Kubicki, who added she and Storz were surprised when they learned they had won.
The two reminisced about their early days in seeking political office.
Kubicki, who was elected to the clerk’s office in 2008, started her career in county government as an employee at Brookside Care Center in 1978. She lost an election in 2004 in her first go-round seeking public office.
Storz, who was previously chief deputy to the registrar, said her first tries at elected office were against state Rep. Samantha Kerkman, R-Salem Lakes, and for the Kenosha City Council — both unsuccessful attempts.
She was later elected as registrar after the retirement of longtime incumbent Louise Principe.
“The work we do, we know it’s important,” Storz said. “It’s a tough life running for public office ... but you’e gotta pick yourself up.”
Kubicki thanked her husband Ed Kubicki, a County Board supervisor, calling him “her rock,” and the many people who have helped her along the way
“We couldn’t do it without everybody in this room,” she said.
Kubicki said despite the hype of the “blue wave,” a term associated with recent Democratic victories, there was still more work to be done.
“We’ve gotta knock on those doors,” she said.
The keynote speaker was John Nichols, Union Grove native, journalist and political author, Washington correspondent for The Nation and an associate editor of The Capital Times.
Nichols spoke about the importance of local elections and praised Democrats taking a stand against Gov. Scott Walker.
He also took Walker to task for his actions against public employees and teachers and for saying he had no money for schools or public roads, but found some for Foxconn.
“He told us we didn’t have enough money to pay for anything for hard-working Wisconsinites. And then, when he found a corporation in Taiwan that wanted a handout, he found $4.5 billion,” Nichols said.
“This isn’t about Foxconn. If they do a good job, that’s great. But when you tell people that you’re so broke you can’t fund their schools, but you fund money to give to multinational corporations ... you have broken faith with values of the state of Wisconsin.”
Candidates in attendance included Congressional hopefuls Randy Bryce and Cathy Myers; lieutenant governor hopeful Mandela Barnes of Milwaukee; Sarah Godlewski, a candidate for state treasurer; and Josh Kaul, a candidate for Wisconsin attorney general.