Representative Kitchens was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957. The son of an FBI Special Agent, his family relocated throughout the United States every few years during his childhood. Joel graduated from high school in Louisville, Kentucky and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio State University. He graduated from veterinary school at Ohio State in 1983 and accepted a position as a farm animal veterinarian in Mayville, Wisconsin.
He and his wife, Sherry, a pet animal veterinarian, moved to Sturgeon Bay in 1984 and started their own veterinary practice. He has continued to work as a farm animal veterinarian in Door and Kewaunee Counties for the past 30 years.
Ever passionate about education, Joel was elected to the Sturgeon Bay School Board in 1999 during a time of financial crisis. Joel helped return the district to sound financial footing and was elected President after two years on the Board. He continued to serve as President for 13 years.
Joel ran for the State Assembly in 2014 following the retirement of Representative Garey Bies. He survived a five person Primary and handily won the General Election. He serves in the State Assembly as Chairman of the Committee on Children and Families and the Vice Chairman of the Committee on Education as well as being a member of the Tourism, Agriculture, Environment and Forestry and Financial Institution Committees.
Joel is the proud father of two adult daughters and a son who attends college at Yale University.