Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


October 31, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/5/13

In this edition:

*Happy Birthday Rachel!
*City Elections
*Tough Kids!
*Politics Becoming More “Polar”?
*Did You Know?

*Happy Birthday Rachel!
         My oldest daughter Rachel turns 22 on November 6th. Rachel has always been fun to be around; her smile can light up a room. I am proud of the fact that she is maturing and really starting to figure things out.

         If you should happen to stop by the Jimmie John’s in downtown Iowa City, you’ll know which one is Rachel by the bubbly personality!

         Happy Birthday, Honey! I love you!

*City Elections
         Municipal elections are today. Please exercise your right and get out and vote! Polling places are available by calling 356-6004 or on the Johnson County Auditor’s web page at:

         A reminder: I support Cole, Botchway, and Porter in Iowa City.

*Tough Kids!
         As you may know, local high school football teams are once again having outstanding seasons. Regina is on an unprecedented run. City is ranked. West’s only loss is to City. Solon is having another fine year, as is West Branch. Mid-Prairie, Lone Tree and Clear Creek are also playoff bound.

         This incredible success led a friend of mine from the Des Moines area to comment, “You sure do have some tough kids in Johnson County!” I think he is absolutely correct. But I think it is a different group of kids who should be praised for being tough.

         Kids who do not get three daily meals? Those are tough kids. Kids who absorb the slings and arrows from peers who tease them about their sexual and/or gender identities? Those are tough kids. Kids whose parents beat them? Those are tough kids. Kids whose families are homeless, going from place to place? Those are tough kids. Kids whose parents struggle with drugs or alcohol? Those are tough kids. Kids whose families have been disrupted, and now live in foster care? Those are tough kids. Kids who deal with disabilities? Those are tough kids. Kids whose parents suffer from mental illness? Those are tough kids. Kids who have to work to support their families? Those are tough kids. Kids with cancer? Those are tough kids!

         Yes, we have great high school football teams in Johnson County. I am proud of the efforts of those kids. I am even MORE proud of the efforts of the many kids in Johnson County who struggle against incredible odds. They will not be getting any pep rallies in their honor, but they are our real heroes.

*Politics Becoming More “Polar”?
         If you listen to any kind of news analysis, be it from the left, right, or center, you will hear some version of the following meme:

         “Our politics have become extremely polar, and few moderates now serve in elected office.” You have heard this before, haven’t you? Well, I happen to believe that this analysis TOTALLY misses the mark.

         There are actually LOTS of moderates in both the US Congress and Iowa Legislature. The issue is that virtually all the moderates are Democrats.

         Here is the deal - the GOP has moved VERY far to the right. They have run the moderates in their party out of office. But they have also dominated the conversation. Over the past 30 years, Republicans have successfully defined the terms of the debate.

         What does this mean? It means the debate is too often between the far right and the moderates. Liberals, progressives – whatever you want to call them – are not even part of the conversation.

Here is an example: people think Social Security is in financial trouble. It is not. Very small tweaks will make it solvent for another 100 years. But we continue to hear that cuts are necessary.

If progressive voices were part of the debate, we would be discussing different things. Rather than cuts, we’d be discussing the elimination of the wage cap and increasing benefits. But that is simply not a part of our public discourse. The choices are two: maintain Social Security as it is, or make cuts. Adding the progressive voice to the conversation would point out that there are other options.

         On the State level, last Legislative session we had Democrats falling all over themselves to give tax cuts to owners of commercial property, particularly owners of mobile home parks and apartment buildings. There was no real debate as to whether or not these folks should be taxed MORE. The debate was simply how big a cut they should receive. This was a one-sided debate, and a huge mistake!

Perhaps the best example of this is our current debate over the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The archconservative Heritage Foundation developed virtually exactly this same policy in the early ‘90s. Republican Governor Mitt Romney pushed the exact same plan in Massachusetts in the early ‘00s. Today, ZERO Republicans in Congress can support the policy. The policy has not changed; the GOP has.

         I think we need more progressive voices in the debate. But that requires Democrats being willing to push their elected officials on issues, run candidates in primaries, and generally raise expectations. Doing so will not only improve the debate – it will improve our country and state!

         There is also a fallacy that the more moderate (or compromise) position is always the best. This is simply not true. Sometimes the hard right position is the best way to go. Sometimes hard left makes the most sense. Just because compromise was involved does not make the product better. Sure, compromise often results in a better product; just not always.

         So don’t believe the pundits. The middle is well represented. It is the left that is not being heard.

*DID YOU KNOW?  According to the National Journal, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is the most conservative Democrat in the US Senate. All Republican Senators rank as more conservative than Manchin.

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!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home