Kenosha County Health Department Director Jen Freiheit has resigned, KCE can report. Her last day with the county will be March 15, 2023.
Freiheit was an extremely controversial health director here in Kenosha County. She was universally loved by the left for promoting mandatory masking for the public and children in schools. She advocated against kids going to school. The Kenosha News named Kenosha County Health Director Jen Freiheit their “2020 person of the year.” She is extremely popular among those that want mask mandates and for schools to be virtual-only. She makes $110,000 per year since December of 2019 when she was appointed by County Executive James Kreuser (D). She has a PhD in Urban Education. In her most recent position, she was Milwaukee’s Chief Deputy Health Commissioner. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Freiheit was “pushed out” from the department for concerns about her job performance. According to her boss, Jeanette Kowalik, there was a “great concern about [Freiheit’s] integrity” and she was asked to resign. Some county board supervisors argued against hiring a heath director marred with allegations of misconduct, but the majority-democrat board voted to hire her. Even though Freiheit is a woman and looks like a woman, she signs her emails with “she/her” to let others know that she is “woke”.
Her “wokeness” may have put her and Kenosha County in serious legal trouble. According to the Wisconsin Institution of Law and Liberty, Freiheit had to be reminded that she doesn’t have the authority to close schools. The group stated in part:
“We have received multiple reports from parents that the Kenosha County health department has told school boards and schools administrators in Kenosha County that it has the power to close schools, and will close schools, if they do not follow the health department’s recommendations or
meet various metrics created by the health department. One recent document from the health department (attached to this letter) states that certain “indicators will trigger a transition to at-home learning for all staff and students in a school or the district.” Another email from a school district administrator to families in the district noted that “Kenosha County Public Health has shared they would intervene and require a move to virtual instruction for all of our students if we reached a point of 3% active infections. The Kenosha health department’s position is wrong; it does not have the power to close schools. We write this letter to remind the health department, as well as local school boards, school administrators, and parents in Kenosha County and elsewhere, of the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision this summer (in a case brought by WILL), holding that “local health officers do not have the power to close schools.” James v. Heinrich, 2021 WI 58, ¶ 26, 960 N.W.2d 350.”
KCE reached out to state representative and County board supervisor Amanda Nedweski, who also chairs the Human Services committee for comment.
“During Dr. Freiheit’s tenure, we certainly learned some valuable lessons about public health and the important benefits and limits of its role in our lives. The pandemic highlighted the need to review, revise, and perhaps, enact new laws that support the government response to a health emergency while also protecting individual liberty. In my position as the Chair of the Kenosha County Human Services committee since April of 2022, I have further developed an appreciation for what the role and responsibilities of a County Health Director should be. Without a doubt, the local response to Covid-19 led by Dr. Jen inspired me to run for both local and state office, and I wish her well on the next leg of her journey.”
KCE reached our to both local parties. Democrat chair Lori Hawkins didn’t respond to a request for comment. Republican Party of Kenosha County Chair Sandy Wiedmeyer had the following to say of Freiheit’s departure:
“Dr Freiheit served Kenosha County in what was a very difficult time, which drew much attention to the Health Department and Freiheit’s controversial handling of the policies surrounding the pandemic. I am hopeful that the search for her replacement will produce a Director whose thought processes around policy making will better align with the needs and values of Kenosha County.”
“I thank Dr. Freiheit for her service to the community, and wish her well in her future endeavors,” said County Executive Samantha Kerkman said Friday afternoon.
Kerkman received Freiheit’s letter of resignation today and said the County would be posting the job in the coming weeks.