Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 10, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     1/14/14

In this edition:

*MLK Day
*Iowa Caucuses
*Did You Know?

*MLK Day
         The federal holiday honoring the birthday of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior is Monday, January 20, 2014.

         The Consultation of Religious Communities (CRC) Interfaith Service is Sunday, January 19 at 7pm at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church.

My family and I attend the Interfaith Service every year. It SHOULD be packed. It is not. What’s more, you rarely ever see elected/appointed officials at the event. I wonder what kind of impact it would have to see the Superintendent of Schools or Chief of Police at the event?

The University of Iowa is once again sponsoring several events in honor of MLK. Also known as Human Rights Week, here is the list of events:

Monday, January 20, 3:30 P.M. at the East steps of Old Capitol Museum.

Monday, January 20, 4 P.M. at the Senate Chambers of Old Capitol Museum.

Thursday, January 23, 6 P.M. – 7:30 P.M. at the Black Box Theater in the Iowa Memorial Union.
Please join us as we celebrate the legacy of Iowa women who contributed to the civil rights movement. Opening remarks by Dr. Georgina Dodge, Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice-President, a special spoken word performance by Wisdom Beyond Words and a multi-media tribute to Iowa women civil rights activists. A reception with light refreshments will follow.
It makes me proud to see my alma mater recognize the man and recognize the need for the holiday. Unfortunately, the UI is virtually alone in our community when it comes to recognizing this day.

         We often hear about Christians who feel that Christmas has lost its meaning, union members who feel that way about Labor Day, and Veterans who feel the same about Veteran’s Day. I fear that this could be happening to MLK Day as well.

         America has come a long way since the 60s, and overt racism is now typically (but certainly not always) frowned upon. We still have a long way to go, however. MLK’s work – our work – on racial issues is far from done.

         We need more discussion on race. But it is even more important that we remember that King was a radical in many ways. America grudgingly accepted racial reforms because they were less dangerous to the status quo than the other issues King championed. King took seriously the Biblical teachings that the love of money is a sin, and that rich men will not be welcomed into Heaven. He proposed seismic changes to the political and social structures that exist in America. In addition, King was adamantly anti-war.

To the status quo, he was the most dangerous man in the world. They were happy to grant him concessions on Jim Crow if they could maintain their financial and military might. The fact that he kept pushing on the Biblical teachings regarding greed meant he was destined to die. He was too big a threat.

         Take some time this week to read some of the great books that are out there on Dr. King. More importantly, take some time to read the things he wrote himself. And Happy MLK Day!

*Iowa Caucuses
         Most people do not realize this, but the Iowa Caucuses are NOT an every 4-year event. Yes, Iowa’s Democrats and Republicans meet every 4 years to help select Presidential nominees. But the Iowa Caucuses actually occur EVERY year.

         This year is no different. People from every precinct in Johnson County will have the opportunity to Caucus with their neighbors on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

         Caucus locations vary by precinct and party; check the Johnson County Auditor’s site:
( for specific details on your location.

         Democracy is not a spectator sport! Please join us!

         You probably recall all the controversy over the Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC). I have been perhaps THE loudest critic of the decisions that were made when JECC was formed.

         While I still adamantly believe that JECC was created incorrectly and inefficiently, I want to give credit where credit is due. The JECC is operating quite smoothly and efficiently right now under the leadership of Director Tom Jones.

         We all recall why JECC happened in the first place. The League of Women Voters had been advocating something similar for years. Then 9/11/01 occurred, and we all witnessed what a lack of interoperability meant. Lives were lost because emergency personnel could not communicate. We knew that we were lacking here, and we knew we could provide better services to the people of Johnson County.

         I am really chagrined that developing the JECC took so much fighting. I probably lost a friend in the process. That said, I would fight the same fights all over again if I needed to – good government is always worth fighting for.

Though I have been JECC’s biggest critic, I never questioned the need for joint dispatch. It is good to see that League of Women Voters’ vision finally paying dividends. It is also really good to see the JECC operating well. Congrats and thanks to Tom Jones and the staff at the JECC – you have done fine work!

*DID YOU KNOW?  The Iowa Caucuses became the first nominating event in the nation in 1972, but really gained notoriety in 1976 when the process catapulted previously-unknown candidate Jimmy Carter to the Democratic Party nomination.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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