Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 3, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     3/8/16

In this edition:

*Sullivan For Supervisor Fundraiser!
*Prairie Preview
*Primary Winners and Losers
*Minimum Wage at the UI
*Did You Know?

*Sullivan for Supervisor Fundraiser!
Save the date! We are having a Sullivan for Supervisor Fundraiser on Tuesday, March 29, from 5-7 P.M. at The Mill.

Please join us for pizza, beverages, and fun! Everyone is invited! Call 319-354-7199 or email for more information.

*Prairie Preview
         The Burr Oak Land Trust presents the 33rd annual Prairie Preview Thursday, March 10 at the Celebration Farm off Highway 1 north of Iowa City.

         Doors open for registration and exhibits at 6:30. Connie Mutel from the University of Iowa will be this year’s speaker beginning at 7:30 p.m. Her talk is titled “A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Writing Climate Change.”

         For more information or to become a sponsor, please contact Tammy Wright at 338-7030 or

         I love this event, and I can hardly wait!

*Primary Winners and Losers
         As a longtime political observer, I have some thoughts on the machinations that take place following a primary.

         We have all seen instances where the losing side refuses to back the winner. On the federal level, you may recall the 2008 “PUMA” (Party Unity My Ass) coalition of Hilary Clinton supporters that refused to accept Barack Obama as the Democratic nominee. That group ended up too small to affect the outcome of the general election, but that is not always the case.

         We have had statewide, statehouse, and courthouse elections where the candidate that lost the primary continued to attack the winner. In a couple of cases, those intraparty squabbles cost us a seat.

         So how do disparate factions come together following a contentious primary? I have some thoughts:

         First, we need to acknowledge that responsibility lies on both sides. From my perspective, the responsibility lies about 60% with the winners, and 40% with the losers. How should winners respond? Think of the difference between the aftermaths of WWI and WWII. Rub in a victory (WWI) and watch as those you defeated seethe and plot their revenge. Rebuild and support those you defeated (WWII) and you can have allies for life.

         Secondly, the two camps need to actually sit down and listen to each other. Obviously, the victor was the victor; the loser cannot expect the victor to adopt all their positions. But any successful politician should be willing to listen to new ideas. You may not adopt a bunch of new positions, but you should be willing to throw the losing camp a few bones. Once the victor has done this, the losing camp is obligated to go back to supporters and say, “We asked them for some things, and they agreed.” This is how you build a party.

         Finally, the two camps should really focus on areas in which they agree. They need to remind themselves why they chose the same party in the first place.

         Let me end with a great example of how this SHOULD work. State Senator Kevin Kinney ran in a Democratic Party primary against a gentleman named Richard Gilmore, who had served as the Party Chair in Washington County.

         After a spirited campaign, Kinney won decisively. He reached out to Gilmore, who was concerned that Washington County might get ignored by a Johnson County candidate. Kinney took that to heart, and worked Washington County very hard. He actually followed through. Meanwhile, Gilmore became his biggest supporter, knocking hundreds of doors and showing up at almost every parade.

         What happened? Democrats won a close victory, and hold a slim one-seat majority in the Iowa Senate. Without Kinney and Gilmore working together, Iowa would be a dramatically different place.

         Yes, Kevin Kinney and Richard Gilmore are both darn good people. Both men are honest, kind, and hard working. But what they accomplished should not be the exception – it should be the rule!

         I hope this type of reconciliation can happen at every level of the Democratic Party, from Presidential politics to courthouse politics.

*Minimum Wage at the UI
         From the very beginning, The University of Iowa claimed they were exempt from the Johnson County minimum wage ordinance. That may or may not be the case; legal folks would need to sort that out. The bigger question: what will they do next?

The UI went along with the first step (from $7.25 to $8.20) back in November. Now Regent Larry McKibben, a former Republican State Senator from Marshalltown, is saying that he will oppose any attempt by the UI to pay the higher minimum.

Funny – I don’t recall McKibben complaining about President Herrald’s salary! Herrald earns $70,000 more than Sally Mason did! For that same amount of money, 115 students working 10 hours per week for the whole school year could earn $1 more for every hour they work. Think about that for a moment.

McKibben claims to care about what the UI costs our students. Yet he wants to keep their wages at $7.25, while giving a RAISE to the new President that would support 115 work study students. It makes me sick!

Meanwhile, UI administrator Rod Lehnertz said, “What we’re going to commit to is a market-based hiring of employees for the University. It doesn’t necessarily mean though that we start with a stature that meets a minimum wage requirement.” Why is it always the guy who earns $238,000 of taxpayer money talking about things being “market based”?

         A couple more examples of the Regents and the UI administration being out of touch with the people. They might as well have said, “Let them eat cake.”

         I hope UI students will be prepared to protest on May 1 when the University opts out of the next minimum wage increase!

*DID YOU KNOW?  An interesting statistic: For the upcoming Johnson County Democratic Party Convention, the average age of a Clinton delegate is 50; the average age of a Sanders delegate is 36.

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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