Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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February 5, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     2/9/16

In this edition:

*Caucus Process Thoughts
*Bernie Sanders
*RIP Tom Hancock
*Free Tax Help!
*Bowl For Kids’ Sake
*Did You Know?

*Caucus Process Thoughts
         The 2016 Iowa Caucuses have come and gone, and Iowans are breathing a collective sigh of relief. It is a fun but taxing time! Personally, I have been involved in several spirited discussions regarding the good, bad, and ugly of the recent Iowa Caucuses. Below are my thoughts.

First, as you may or may not know, caucuses are party events, not governmental elections. They are run by volunteers. It is not a vote. It is not an election. It is not a straw poll. It is a party building activity designed to elect delegates to the County, District, and State party conventions. The media wants it to be something else. It is not.

Secondly, in the interest of full disclosure, I was the person who arranged all the caucus locations in 2000 and 2004. I got a bit of help, but for all intents and purposes, it was just me. So I have been there, done that. The people in that role in 2016 were Bill Keetel of the Johnson County Republican Party and John Deeth of the Johnson County Democratic Party. Yes, I am protective of their efforts! Rather than complaints, I believe they deserve a YOOGE thanks!

The caucus locations are too small, too crowded, too hot, not on bus lines, inaccessible to people who have to work, and lacking in seating, parking, and childcare. Registration takes too long, it is hard to hear speakers, the voting is archaic, and vote totals are not released. Yes. We know. Guess what? You are not the first person to ever mention this. The people who put together the Caucuses get it. They have honestly tried very hard, for several years, to address these concerns.

Want to complain? First, I hope that means you’ll volunteer. Secondly, direct any complaints to school district officials and the UI, who despite very specific State laws, do not make all their facilities open to the parties.

Bottom line – most complaints about process are forced upon the parties by the agreement between Iowa and New Hampshire. If you want to change these things, you sacrifice First in the Nation status. I know I am biased; I have enjoyed tremendous personal benefits from Iowa's First in the Nation (FITN) status. I have met many candidates and Presidents; I have played a meaningful role in choosing the leader of the free world. I have been incredibly blessed; I get it. Not everybody cares about FITN; I also get that.

Fact is, we have a choice: deal with our existing set of problems and make the best of it, or move to a June primary and never see another Presidential candidate again. That may sound harsh, but trust me, it is realistic.

Ask someone from North or South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Alaska, etc. how many Presidential candidates they have spoken to. The answer is ZERO. In 16 years of their Presidencies, George W. Bush and Barack Obama set foot in those 5 states 8 times total. Total. I have personally spoken to those two Presidents 5 times MYSELF.

It is a trade off. As a friend eloquently put it, “The other choice is Iowa has no input and the result, though fair, is completely irrelevant.”

         I know a young woman who has a child with a serious mental health issue. She has spoken face to face with all 3 Democratic candidates at least twice each. She handed them notes on her concerns. And you know what? All 3 candidates have position papers on children’s mental health. That has never been the case previously. My friend made an impact FAR beyond a single vote in a primary.

Once again - is a person more disenfranchised by the caucus system, BUT having the opportunity to speak to a given candidate face-to-face 2, 3 or more times? Or is it better to have that same person never, ever see a candidate but be able to vote by mail? I just don't think most folks understand in full what they would be trading away.
Anyway, the debate will rage on, I am sure. My own Caucus site was wonderful - a great Chair; outstanding accommodations; wonderful, helpful custodians; and lots of friendly Democrats who campaigned passionately but remained Iowa nice. 591 electors showed up, with 306 for Clinton and 285 for Sanders. We split the 11 delegates 6-5. It was good. All good.

*Bernie Sanders
If you read Salvos, you know I am a proud Bernie Sanders supporter. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the great young people with whom I had the opportunity to work. It was a pleasure and a privilege. Don’t ever quit dreaming!

*RIP Tom Hancock
         Dubuque County Supervisor Tom Hancock died suddenly last Saturday. This came as quite a shock; I had just been working with Supervisor Hancock on some legislation intended to help our two counties. I did not know him well, but he certainly seemed to be a nice man. My condolences to his family and friends.

*Free Tax Help!
Don’t pay a fee to get your refund! The IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program provides trained volunteers that will help you file your taxes. This service is available FOR FREE to people who earned less than $55,000 in 2015. E-filing is available, and interpretation services are available at many sites or by appointment.
“You Earned It. Now Claim It!”

Sites are the Iowa City Public Library, SEJH in Iowa City, NWJH in Coralville, and Garner Elementary in North Liberty. Services are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday – see
for the complete schedule.

Spanish interpreters are available; interpreters for other languages can be scheduled by calling 356-6090.

*DVIP Souper Bowl
Thursday, February 11 marks the 19th Annual Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) Souper Bowl! The event is 5:30-7:30 PM at the Sheraton in downtown Iowa City.

For $25 guests can enjoy all you care to eat soup and the bowl of your choice to take home! This is DVIP’s biggest community event of the year! Be sure to mark your calendars!

*Bowl For Kids’ Sake
I chose to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters' Bowl for Kids' Sake because too many young people are struggling at school and at home. But kids served by Big Brothers Big Sisters get great results!

  • 98% of our Littles have avoided the judicial system
  • 63% of our Littles feel more socially accepted
  • 76% of our Littles have increased their scholastic confidence
  • 92% of our Littles who did not believe they would finish high school before meeting their Bigs now believe they can and will
  • 63% of our Littles who did not believe college was an option before meeting their Bigs now hope to attend and believe they can graduate from college
  • 69% of our Littles have improved their grades from the time they began meeting with their Big
  • 47% of our Littles have improved their sense of risk behaviors and do not approve of their peers engaging in risky behaviors
  • 65% of our Littles have improved their relationships with their parents or caretakers
  • 47% of our Littles have improved their truancy from the time they began meeting with their Big.

We can keep this going. Help me reach my Bowl for Kids' Sake goal by making a donation today. Your donation will help change a child's life for the better, forever.

*DID YOU KNOW?  The Johnson County Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC) is the lone dispatch in Johnson County. In 2015, JECC answered 82,000 routine calls, and 46,000 E911 calls – 85% of which came by cellphone. 93% of all calls were answered in under ten seconds

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.

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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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