Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 5, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos 4/9/13 In this edition: *Dems Hall of Fame *Pancake Day *Celebration of the Young Child *Shelter House Gala *Thank You Iowa Senate! *What’s An Elected Official To Do? *Did You Know? *Dems Hall of Fame The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding its annual Hall of Fame event on Saturday, May 11 at 7pm at the Marriott in Coralville. Save the date! Honorees this year are Anita Sehr, Maureen Donnelly, Joyce Carmen, Rebecca Reiter, and the late Lori Bears. An amazing group of people who deserve your appreciation! Sponsorships are available at $100, $250, and $500 levels. Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 apiece. Desserts and coffee are included, and a cash bar will be available. I hope you will join me on May 11 to help honor these 5 deserving volunteers. *Pancake Day The ICCSD is holding its annual Pancake Day fundraiser on Saturday, April 13 from 6:30 am – 6:30 pm at the West High cafeteria. This event is the single biggest fundraiser for athletics at Southeast, Northwest, North Central, West, and City. Please eat a few pancakes and support our young athletes! *Celebration of the Young Child Saturday, April 13th from 10 am – 6 pm at the Iowa Children’s Museum. Free admission includes stories, dance, music, activities, and more. *Shelter House Gala Saturday, April 20 at the Celebration Farm. Silent Auction, Live Auction, dinner, and drinks. Call 338-5416 for more information. *Thank You, Iowa Senate! The Iowa Senate recently voted 26-23 to support Medicaid expansion in Iowa. All 26 Democrats voted in favor, and all Republicans were opposed. This issue has somehow become political to members of the GOP, and that is a shame. This is a no-brainer! The feds will pay 100% for the first 3 years, and the federal portion will never dip below 90%. Iowans pay federal taxes; why shouldn’t Iowans have access to federal benefits? Some in the GOP claim we cannot afford this. Hogwash! Medicaid is much more efficient than private insurance. Failure to provide basic health care to our fellow Iowans costs us all much more in higher insurance premiums. The members of the Iowa GOP who claim we “cannot afford this” do not seem to care that we hand 100 million dollars to a disreputable foreign fertilizer company. They have no interest in the effect of two off-budget wars, huge tax cuts for the wealthy, a bloated military budget, prescription drug companies fleecing Americans, tax breaks to oil companies, tax loopholes – THAT is how Congress and the Bush Administration blew the surplus and created a deficit. Medicaid had little to do with it! Medicaid expansion should NOT be a partisan issue! Just ask the Republican Governors of New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and North Dakota. To top it all off, the Senate Dems offered the Governor an “opt-out” after three years if the federal money failed to materialize. So there is zero risk. Not that there is any risk, anyway: the federal government has run Medicaid uninterrupted and without a hitch since 1965. The feds have a much better track record of keeping promises than does the State of Iowa! Meanwhile, 150,000 poor Iowans go without health coverage. The GOP is not only wrong financially in this case – they are wrong morally. Thanks to the Democrats in the Iowa Senate for getting it right! *What’s An Elected Official To Do? Recent Board votes point out some of the struggles between elected representatives and the people they represent. I must admit, I find being an elected official very challenging some times. The relationship with the public is difficult to figure out. I don't really feel as though I need a lot of positive strokes, though others might. People rarely say anything when they agree with you. I guess I'm surprised our records do not count for more, however. I can vote according to an individual's wishes 100 times in a row, but vote against her once, and I'm a bum. There is a VERY tiny reservoir of trust. It is disappointing that people do not have a bit more faith. Similarly – I have always and will always vote to support LGBT rights. So calls and e-mails are unlikely to move me on the issue. But I got roughly ten negative comments and ten positive. The negative comments were all adamant; the positive were mostly a quick “thanks”. So what about any Supervisors who struggle with the issue? The feedback they got this week was clear – it is not worth it to support LGBT rights. The public has spoken, and you may not like the message! People tend to let you know when they disagree, and we should all do this as citizens. But people rarely offer criticism in a way that is timely or helpful. For example: including training sessions, public hearings, and work sessions, the County’s Land Use Plan Committee met almost 20 times. TWENTY! Public meetings every time. I was present at something like 17 of them. Where was everyone? Those sessions were critical opportunities for feedback! This lack of engagement scares the hell out of me. It has already shown up electorally – witness the 6% turnout in the most recent special election. People – you will most assuredly get the government you deserve! You simply MUST pay attention, and you MUST let elected officials know what you think. Do not sit back and wait to criticize; be proactive! I’m amazed at the number of times I sit in a meeting, criticized for parking tickets, the USDA, Medicaid, and the North Liberty Fire Department. (I use those just as examples. But they are all REAL examples!) The common thread between each of those issues? Each is outside of the realm of a County Supervisor! I get that life is complicated. Not everyone is “into” government. But the public simply must have a better level of understanding! I TRY to keep people informed. That is a part of my responsibility, obviously. It is also a responsibility of the press - they could do much better, in my opinion. It is also a responsibility of the public. I would argue that while I may not do as much as I should, I'm doing more than virtually any person out there. So, I'll continue to attempt to keep you informed. And I’ll try to do better. I simply ask that you do your part, too. *DID YOU KNOW? The per-enrollee cost growth in Medicaid (6.1 percent) is lower than the per enrollee cost growth in comparable coverage under Medicare (6.9), private health insurance (10.6), and monthly premiums for employer-sponsored insurance (12.6). (Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.) Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- "Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents. These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


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