Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 7, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     3/11/14

In this edition:

*Saint Patrick’s Day!
*Bob Sullivan
*Spring Break
*Spring Break Shout Out!
*Girl’s State Basketball
*Cost Of Living In Iowa
*Did You Know?

*Saint Patrick’s Day!
Happy St. Patty’s Day on March 17! St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite days of the year. While not an “official” holiday, this day has long been celebrated heartily by my Irish family.

         The tradition lives on… I almost always take St. Patrick’s Day off work. March 17 is a Monday this year, but I don’t see much on the calendar.  J

         Meanwhile, I hope each and every one of you is touched by a little luck o’ the Irish!

*Bob Sullivan
         March 17 holds a special place in my heart that goes beyond St. Patrick’s Day. That was also the birthday of my late father, Bob Sullivan.

         Dad was a proud union man, Hawkeye fan, and Irishman. We were father and son, but also best friends. I can honestly say he was probably the most fun person I have ever known.

         Unfortunately, he left this world much too soon, and never got the chance to meet any of his nine grandchildren. I miss him every single day, but especially on St. Patty’s Day.

         If you knew my dad and you are reading this – send me an e-mail some time. I could really use a little time swapping stories and reminiscing.

         And, if you are looking for an extra toast on St. Patrick’s Day, allow me to suggest that you raise a glass to Bob Sullivan.

         Happy birthday, Dad.

*Spring Break
         Spring Break for the UI, Kirkwood, and most schools in Johnson County commences Saturday, March 15 through Saturday, March 22. When you live in a place dominated by education, Spring Break matters – even if you yourself get no break per se! I hope everyone finds something to enjoy during that time!

*Spring Break Shout Out!
         While many young people will be on a beach somewhere, my son BJ will be joining a Rotary Club mission trip to Xicotepec, Mexico. I’m tremendously proud of BJ; he decided he wanted to make this trip, and he is paying his own way. (Which is substantial!) BJ has a big heart, and I am awfully proud of him.

*Girl’s State Basketball
         Congrats to the City High Girl’s Basketball Team on a great season, culminating in a loss in the State semifinals.

I am a huge sports fan, but I try not to focus on that in Salvos. (I figure you have many other outlets for sports opinions.) I make a bit of an exception for City High Girl’s Basketball, as it has been a big part of my family’s life over the past decade.

Our family has been extremely fortunate when it comes to girl’s basketball. City High won a State championship in 2008 when my oldest daughter, Rachel, was on the sophomore team. My daughter Jordan was privileged to play on outstanding teams, and helped her team to the State Tournament in 2012, her Senior year. Now our foster daughter Loshika has had the opportunity to be a part of a team that went 24-1 and was ranked #1 most of the year. It has been quite a run!

         The success on the court has been remarkable. But I’d like to give a shout out to Coach Bill McTaggart. Bill is a great guy, plain and simple. He does things the right way, and he sincerely cares about the kids. Sports really are about more than wins and losses. We are so lucky to have had our lives touched by this fine man!

*Cost Of Living In Iowa
Even at the state's median wage, many families in Iowa cannot make ends meet. The latest “Cost of Living in Iowa” report from the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project (IPP) illustrates costs of a basic-needs, no-frills family budget.

The report found substantial increases in costs over the last few years in housing, food, transportation and childcare. “We often hear about low-income families in the context of the official poverty level, but you would need to make nearly three times that level in some cases just to make ends meet,” said Peter Fisher, research director of IPP and lead author of the report. “That is why public work supports, such as child care, food and energy assistance, as well as the Earned Income Tax Credit and health care subsidies, are so important to low-income families,” said co-author Lily French, senior policy consultant for IPP.

At the state's median wage — $15.33 in 2012 — many family types on average would need to make substantially more in a full-time job:
— $25.04 per hour for one worker in a two-parent family with two children;
— $20.11 per hour for one worker in a two-parent family with one child;
— $28.11 per hour for a single parent with two children; and
— $20.87 per hour for a single parent with one child.

“These figures put some real context into the political debate we hear about whether to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour,” Fisher said. “Even at $10.10 per hour, families will need significant supports to stay afloat.”

The report is the opening installment of the fourth edition of “The Cost of Living in Iowa.” It is available on the IPP website, The report includes complete information on basic-needs family budgets for all family types and geographic areas in the state, with tables providing county-by-county information.

“Cost differences from county to county can be dramatic,” French noted. “Monthly child care expenses for two children ranged from $562 to $998. Average costs of health care ranged from $575 to $739 per month, and rent varied from $721 to $1,254. “In the highest cost county, a total basic needs budget for a family with two children was $9,000 higher than the lowest-cost county,” she added.

Subsequent installments of the 2014 report will focus more closely on work supports and how they affect basic family budgets in various regions of Iowa. A preliminary version of this part of the analysis, illustrating "cliff effects" in the Child Care Assistance program, was released in December and is available on the IPP website here: 

The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy research organization based in Iowa City. Reports are at

*DID YOU KNOW?  There are 34 million Americans with at least some Irish ancestry; 10 times the number of people in Ireland itself.

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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