Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Wisconsin State Journal (copy)

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Monona City Council. The terms are for two years.

Molly Grupe

Age: 35

Address: 4910 Shore Acres Road

Family: husband, Daniel

Job: Early Childhood Speech-Language Pathologist, Waunakee Community School District

Prior elected office: None

Other public service: Citizen member, Monona Landmarks Commission; member, Friends of the Monona Senior Center Board; political action coordinator, Waunakee Teachers Association; co-Leader, Bridge Lake-Point Waunona Community Garden

Education: Master’s of science, Communicative Disorders, UW-Madison

Brian Holmquist

Age: 42

Address: 508 Panther Trail

Family: wife, Rebecca, two school-age children

Job: Administrator in Student Services with Madison Metropolitan School District

Prior elected office: Monona City Council since 2012

Other public service: Served as chair or co-chair on the following city of Monona committees and commissions: Finance and Personnel, Plan, Public Safety, Public Works, Parks, Sustainability, Senior, and Family Attraction and Retention. In addition, served as a member on the city’s Long-Range Facilities Advisory Committee and Monona’s 75th Anniversary Committee. Serve as the chair of the Occupational Therapy Credentialing Board with the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Calvin College; master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, Pacific University

Website or email address:

Andrew Kitslaar

Age: 34

Address: 4514 Midmoor Road, Monona

Family: Wife, Laura

Job: Director of Development, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

Prior elected office: Monona City Council

Other public service: Board member of the Monona Grove Education Foundation

Education: Bachelor’s in Environmental Studies and Politics and Government, minor in Biology from Ripon College; master’s in education in Higher Education Administration from Vanderbilt University

Jennifer Kuhr


Address: 6103 Queens Way, Monona

Family: husband, Michael, and two daughters

Job: Senior Grants and Contracts Specialist, UW-Madison

Prior elected office: Currently serving on Monona City Council

Other public service: Volunteer, River Alliance of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Trout Unlimited, Monona Grove Nursery School, Winnequah School, Monona Public Library. Academic staff representative at UW-Madison.

Education: Bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Public Administration from UW-Stevens Point


List three of your top priorities

Grupe: Providing a voice for the community on the development of the city, including the ongoing Yahara Riverfront project. Working toward an increasingly accessible and “dementia friendly” Monona, ensuring that facilities and green spaces are accessible to people of all abilities. Ensuring that Monona’s substantial senior population is civically and socially engaged.

Holmquist: Taxes: Walmart’s assessment challenge (if successful) will be detrimental to the city. We will need to cut programs/services. In addition, residents and other businesses would see a tax increase. Aging Facilities: many have received ongoing maintenance and updates, however the return on investment is becoming unsustainable. Development/Redevelopment: finding ways to address growth and in-fill within our landlocked community.

Kitslaar: Assess and set a strategy to address aging city facilities. Promote responsible redevelopment by creating a comprehensive plan across Monona to ensure appropriate and cohesive redevelopment, especially along Monona Drive and Broadway. Push Monona to lead by example, through actions and policies in areas of sustainability, bike/pedestrian passage, city employee benefits, and state legislation.

Kuhr: Smart Redevelopment of Monona Drive and the Broadway corridor. Creative community partnerships. Engaging lifelong residents and attracting young professionals and families.

If you could reverse one city action, what would that be?

Grupe: The modified bike and pedestrian lanes on Winnequah Road are inefficient and confusing, and therefore are utilized improperly by cyclists and walkers alike. Learning from the outcome of this decision-making and approval process is important for the City Council to successfully complete effective and meaningful projects.

Holmquist: Many of the City’s facilities are in need of significant repair or replacement. This is not the result of any one city action, but the accumulation of inaction to strategically plan. Initial efforts were made with the Bray Study; however, no action was taken.

Kitslaar: The inaction on a study Monona conducted in 2012 on our aging city facilities. This delay not only cost Monona money through increased building/land costs, but also with the need to update the study six years later. Addressing our facility needs will not happen over a few years, but will take decades, and this delay cost the city time.

Kuhr: When Winnequah Road was redesigned a decade ago the approved design led to a road that is not wide enough to adequately accommodate traffic, cyclists and pedestrians. As alder, I would push to have the road redesigned to safely accommodate all that use the road.

How would you change the way the city handles development?

Grupe: Monona is a “landlocked” community bordered by Madison and Lake Monona, which means that we have to be creative with development opportunities. I think transparent communication and the exploration of co-housing/communal housing could benefit the way we continue to grow our city.

Holmquist: 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.

Kitslaar: Redevelopment is critical to Monona’s tax base. Monona is a desirable city to developers, and city leaders must establish a comprehensive, long-term land use plan, with ordinances, and implement a vision for Monona Drive and Broadway. This will provide proper guidance to prospective developers and ensure a cohesive and appropriate plan in these critical thoroughfares.

Kuhr: I would like to see the city of Monona engage residents in planning and development of a shared vision for Monona. That shared vision should drive strategic marketing and development plans for Monona Drive and the Broadway corridor.