Kerkman Moves to Disband County Race Panel

Nov. 15, 2023 10p

(WGTD)---In a surprise move, Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman is recommending that the county board disband the county's Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission, a panel established in the wake of George Floyd and Jacob Blake in high hopes of resolving local race issues. 

In a statement issued Wednesday night, Kerkman said: “The current state of the Racial and Ethnic Equity Commission does not align with or fulfill the mission set out by the County Board. The recent events have further demonstrated how the commission’s actions have deep impact in our community. Therefore, I am rescinding all of the County Executive appointees to the commission effective immediately, and I encourage the County Board to take the steps needed to disband the commission."

In recent months, the panel, created during the administration of Kerkman's predecessor, Jim Kreuser, took a turn to the right with Kerkman's own appointees, and began to highlight political causes.  The president of the Kenosha chapter of the NAACP questioned whether anything of value was being accomplished. 

“I know there is important work to be done," Kerkman added. "I believe there are other means by which we can work to effectively address the intended objectives of the commission, including the good work being done by Kenosha County Public Health through its Thrive initiative.”

In addition, Kenosha County Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator Kelsey Hubeler issued the following comment: “This isn’t the end of the county’s racial equity work. This is an acknowledgment that what the REEC was doing wasn’t working, and that we should pursue other strategies going forward. I look forward to assisting in any way I can.”

The commission is scheduled to meet Thursday evening at the Job Center.