Five Co-op Owners applied for two open seats on the Basics Board of Directors, to serve from June 2019 to May 2021. Each answered three questions in writing. Their answers are listed below.

In keeping with our cooperative governance and the Basics Bylaws, all active Co-op Owners are encouraged to vote! Ballots will be collected online and in-store through 8pm Tuesday, May 7 (Super Tuesday).

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Jenny Neuville

1. Why do you want to be elected to the Basics Cooperative Board?

I am super passionate about the principles that Basics Co-op abides by, and here’s my take on them:

1. Voluntary and Open Membership—I’m an advocate of diversity and appreciate the Co-op’s non-discrimination policy.

2. Democratic Control—This is what distinguishes us as Owners, versus just members. Together we are empowered to shape the policies and direction of the Co-op.

3. Member Economic Participation—We are all in this together and have the same level of investment and return. This ensures there isn’t an unequal distribution of financial power so the Co-op can truly operate democratically.

4. Autonomy and Independence—I feel very passionate about this one because it keeps big brands, vendors and/or government out of our policy and decision-making and keeps the integrity of Co-op intact.

5. Education, Training and Information—Through educating each member, employee or elected rep, we are optimizing their ability to work, serve & make better informed decisions for the Co-op and community.

6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives—Staying connected and collaborating with other Cooperatives gives all of us a larger voice on a national or regional level. We can team up to better affect legislation, pool resources, and continue to stay strong against the “big box” trends that fail to support local sustainable living.

7. Concern for Community—This is my favorite principle, simply because I’m so passionate about people working together locally, for the good of the community. As a cooperative, we have the responsibility to regard and contribute to the community’s higher good and give back to the framework which supports us.

 2. What special skills do you bring to the board?

I served on the Friends of Noah board for several years and have experience with how board structure works and the various functions of each person & the board as a whole. I have worked professionally with many different nonprofits and local businesses and have extensive experience working within the constraints of limited budgets, confidentiality, multiple personalities, and more. I own a marketing company, which means I “look at the big picture” for a living, and I approach problems and obstacles with creativity and tenacity. Serving on the Basics board would be a great honor for me.

3. What role do you think Basics offers in our community?

As a cooperative, Basics provides buying power and a platform for food and product choices that might not otherwise be available in Rock County. The brands we carry help promote local farmers and encourage sustainability. We are a leader in the community when it comes to promoting environmental responsibility. We also demonstrate openness, inclusiveness and diversity. We contribute to local organizations that need help and partner with local efforts that embrace the principles we embody.

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Maureen Kukla

1985 began my career in health care, from Certified Nursing Assistant and EMT to Dental Assistant. Since then I have continued in Dental Management and pursuing holistic health education. I have had the pleasure to study homeopathy, nutrition, and assist with cranial sacral therapy. 

In 2003 we created a full-service restaurant and catering business in our community corporate park. “Feed the people” was a calling and a passion. Serving the working-class healthy options that were homemade and customized to their dietary needs was a pleasure. Supporting those that continue to make our country strong and providing an environment that promoted one another was a way to show one's values. 

Being part of the chamber of commerce, I hosted many business groups. I created small group leadership marketing meetings for others to promote their businesses. I donated many meals to local churches, and catered for all the corporate events in town. 

Basics Co-op is a great asset to Janesville. I feel being a part of the Board, I can bring new ideas and help continue the mission it has set forth.

I am currently in the health care field and I touch many lives daily. Health care education is critical and Basics provides options for patrons seeking alternative therapy. 

I look forward to sharing myself with the community of Basics Co-op.

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Thomas Kukla, DDS

Since 1984 I have educated and promoted healthy living. My passions are nutrition and holistic living. 

I was fortunate to have been part of the Sutherland Group study for Cranial Sacral Therapy, Homeopathic Study Club, Clinical Hypnosis, and Nutritional Studies. I have witnessed over the years many healings with natural supportive products. 

Teaching others food nutrition brought me to create, own, and operate a full-service restaurant and catering business from 2003-2010. The goal was to bring a healthy option to the working class in our corporate business park. I enjoyed creating healthy gluten free options, organic options, keto, and non- processed meals. 

Basics Co-op is a great asset to the Janesville community. Basics provides a retail option for patrons seeking HEALTH. The environment is needed to supply organic options, vitamins and nutritional support, as well as a choice for those with health issues related to food and drink. Basics has a great impact for those patrons and needs to grow, thrive, and provide continued support. 

Basics is a lifeline from farm to fork as well as providing knowledgeable workers to help patrons find answers. We need to support our local growers by providing them access to the people. 

I would like to be part of the Board to share my knowledge of health, nutrition, cooking, and vitamins. I am a patron of Basics and want to see it grow and continue to meet the needs of the community. Health care is changing and educating and providing options for all is a great service.

I look forward to supporting Basics.

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Joyce Bush

1. Why do you want to be elected to the Basics Cooperative Board?

I would like to have the privilege of being elected to the Basics Cooperative Board to help make a difference in the health of people’s lives. The food we eat is the beginning of wellness.

 2. What special skills do you bring to the board?

I have been told I am a good listener, well organized, able to find a way to get things done, a team player, and can both lead and follow. I have been a teacher for 20 years. I would bring new ideas and a fresh mind to help. 

3. What role do you think Basics offers in our community?

I believe Basics offers our community a gateway to healthier living. It provides a place of learning, gathering and relating for like-minded people with the common goal of seeking better health for ourselves and those around us. 

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fern rasmussen

1. Why do you want to be elected to the Basics Cooperative Board?

During the last forty years, I have had the "time of my life" searching for the source of good health. Basics Co-op has been a large part of those years, beginning in the mid-1970's when the store opened.

When I lost a close family member prematurely, even though seeking medical aid, I knew there had to be another pathway to abounding well-being and freedom from disease.

In discovering diets, treatments, and products, and putting them into practice, I found a whole other world of exciting evidence that illness is truly avoidable, that the power that put us together in our mother's womb continues long after birth. The body is made to take care of itself; we need only to understand and cooperate with its intelligence.

2. What special skills or experience will you bring to the Board?

My claim for offering myself as a Board member is my experience in healthful living, my conviction of its truths, and a desire to share with and encourage others. 

My former life was as a vocal music teacher in Wisconsin public schools, interspersed with secretarial employment, ministerial assistance, and finally retiring from office work at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. I also briefly engaged in running a mini-business of my own.

3. What role do you think Basics Co-op offers in our community?

Basics is a great name for a health food store, because there are basic truths about how the body functions. Once we learn and follow them, we lay the foundation for building and maintaining our bodies with the very best structural components.