Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 14, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     1/19/16

In this edition:

*Election Day!
*Press Citizen Person of the Year
*What A Great Quote!
*My Caucus History
*Politics And Marriage
*Did You Know?

*Election Day!
         Tuesday, January 19 is the date of our Special Election for the Office of County Supervisor. PLEASE get out and vote!

         As I have noted previously, I wholeheartedly endorse Lisa Green Douglass for the office of Johnson County Supervisor! I hope she will have your support, too!

*Press Citizen Person of the Year
         I was a bit shocked to see myself listed among the finalists for the Press Citizen Person of the Year. It is quite humbling, and I am honored that a few people saw fit to submit my name.

But I must say, the paper has said multiple times that I am the person “most responsible” for the increase in the minimum wage. Frankly, I am not sure that is fair. Nothing gets done on the Board of Supervisors without three votes.

More importantly, this was a case of the people standing up and taking control. The minimum wage was increased because low-income workers and their allies demanded it. I sincerely hope this is the lesson of our minimum wage fight; the people can accomplish anything they want if they organize!

*What A Great Quote!
         A friend of mine recently posted the following quote on a Facebook page, and it really struck me!

"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

         This is good advice. Darn good advice. Our whole country could benefit from following this lead. Personally, I am going to try to take it to heart in 2016!

*My Caucus History
         I was thinking about the upcoming Iowa Caucuses, and began to reminisce about Caucuses past. Below is my personal Caucus history:

1968: No one can recall if I attended or not. I have no memory.
1972: Went with my Dad; he supported McGovern.
1976: Went with my Dad; he supported Ted Kennedy.
1980: Skipped Caucus to chase a girl. Should have caucused.
1984: Jesse Jackson
1988: Jesse Jackson
1992: Tom Harkin
1996: Undecided
2000: Bill Bradley
2004: Howard Dean
2008: Barack Obama
2012: Barack Obama
2016: Bernie Sanders

         It is interesting, looking back over the years. 1984 marked the first time I was actually eligible to caucus myself. Since that time, I have only supported two winners – that being Barack Obama both times.

         One of the more interesting marks on my record is the “undecided” vote in 1996. As you may recall, President Bill Clinton was running for reelection that year. I was thoroughly disappointed by President Clinton’s first term.

         He passed NAFTA, which led to millions of American jobs flooding into Mexico and China. He deregulated the banking industry, which created our current “Too Big To Fail” behemoths. He cut welfare benefits, and made it more difficult for poor women to maintain custody of their children. He greatly increased the taxes poor people paid on Social Security benefits. He passed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, which codified discrimination against gays in the military. He took LGBT money in the campaign, then refused to support those issues. He increased the use of the death penalty. He ushered in a series of “tough on crime” policies that were racist at their core, and led to the imprisonment of millions of African Americans. His drug policies only exacerbated things. It was not exactly the type of record of which liberals would be proud.

         So I joined scores of my fellow caucus goers in choosing “undecided”. The Iowa Democratic Party did not like that; they instead reported that Clinton had received 100% of the delegates. But that was blatantly untrue. Many undecided delegates (including most of our black and LGBT delegates) showed up at the County Convention that year, contrary to what had been reported.

         Obviously, 2008 stands out as my favorite. I mean, it was my first ever win! But in all seriousness, being a VERY early part of the movement that elected our first black President was indescribably cool!

         My friend Dave Redlawsk studies the caucuses as an academic. I was sharing my list with him, and he was a bit perplexed. While I have never backed a Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) candidate, neither have I always supported the most liberal candidate. What gives?

         I thought about Dave’s question, and I believe I have the answer. I have always supported the “movement” candidate. I recognize that we have serious problems, and a “movement” is necessary to really fix the things that ail us. I have always wanted to be a part of that movement. I still do!

*Politics And Marriage
         I just read a very interesting piece on about marriage and political parties. For several years, Gallup has asked the question, “Would you be upset if your son or daughter married someone of the opposing political party?”

         In 1960, 4% of Democrats and 5% of Republicans agreed with this statement. By 2008, those numbers had grown to 20 and 27. Just two years later, in 2010, 33% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans would be upset about their son or daughter marrying someone from the opposing party.

         Frankly, I find this trend disturbing on a couple of fronts. First, politics should not be the most important factor in terms of evaluating character. The more extreme our politics get, the more likely that is true, but we should recognize that typically personal politics are not that important.

         Secondly, the poll results would lead one to believe that the people with whom we disagree are not good people. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are good and bad people in every political party. We need to spend more time discussing the areas in which we agree.

         Finally, we are more polarized than ever. It seems that we are being urged to divide and separate rather than to unite and combine. There is a whole industry that exists solely to keep us divided. Consultants, pollsters, pundits, lobbyists, etc. – they do not profit if we are civil to each other and work together. They NEED us to hate each other; I think we should resist that impulse.

*DID YOU KNOW?  The significance of the Iowa Caucuses stems directly from the turmoil at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In order to address criticism of the process, the DNC asked states to put in new safeguards. Because the Iowa process was a long one, it needed to start quite early. That, coupled with the availability of the space for the State Convention, led Iowa to hold the first in the nation contest in 1972. Iowa liked the attention this created, and has stayed first ever since.

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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