Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 13, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/17/16

In this edition:

*Sullivan for Supervisor!
*IDP Caucus Review
*Minimum Wage Economics
*Iowa Shares
*Did You Know?

*Sullivan for Supervisor!
         As you (hopefully) know, I am running for reelection. Early voting has already begun for the June 7 Democratic Party Primary; I thought I should take a moment to make my case to Salvos readers!

I grew up on a Heritage farm (150 years in the same family) near Sutliff, and attended K-12 in the Lisbon school system. I attended the University of Iowa, earning a BA in 1988. I have held several positions in the field of human services, including 6 years with the Department of Human Services and 6 years as Executive Director of the Arc of Johnson County.

I am married to Dr. Melissa Fath, a Research Scientist at the UI and a volunteer Pharmacist at the Free Medical Clinic. We have 3 adult children-Rachel, Jordan, and BJ, and have served as foster parents for another 40+ children.

I have been active in many local organizations, including volunteering for the Shelter Overflow, Furniture Project, United Way, Community Foundation of Johnson County, Affordable Homes Coalition, Coalition for Racial Justice, UI Center for Disabilities and Development, Hoover PTA, City High Little Hawks Club, Yes for Kids Steering Committee, and the Batterer’s Education Program.

I am a member of several community organizations, including: St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Iowa Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, Sierra Club, Burr Oak Land Trust, Johnson County Historical Society, Johnson County Ag Association, Center for Worker Justice, ACLU Hawkeye Chapter, AFT Local 716, and NAMI. I also served 4 years as Chair of the Johnson County Democratic Party.

Some of the accomplishments of which I am proud:

Leadership during ’08 floods.
Human Rights Ordinance.
Sensitive Areas Ordinance.
Conservation Bond Initiative.
Started 1105 Project with gift of old Public Health building.
Saved Sutliff Bridge.
Trails funding.
Community ID.
Free Tax Help project.
Livable Community Successful Aging.
Outdoor warning sirens to unincorporated Johnson County.
Local Foods Policy Council.
“A” in local government transparency from Sunshine Institute.
Heritage AAA Outstanding Elected Official – 2009.
Raising the minimum wage.

         I respectfully request your vote on or before June 7. Thanks!

*IDP Caucus Review
         The Iowa Democratic Party has me steaming mad! They CLAIM to be doing a “Caucus Review”. One does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to note that Iowa Republicans handle their Caucuses differently than Iowa Democrats.

         (In short, Iowa Republicans walk in, vote, and then most leave. This allows for MUCH smaller caucus sites!)

         I am one of many people who has asked aloud why Democrats in Iowa do not simply do what Republicans do. The argument you hear from the IDP is, “New Hampshire won’t allow it.”

         But that is a blatant lie! New Hampshire allows the Iowa GOP to do it! The real story is that the IDP refuses to ask!

         I am so fed up with the IDP, I don’t really give a damn what they do. I just wish they would stop lying!

*Minimum Wage Economics
In discussing the increase in the minimum wage, I continue to come across the same argument: “So you raise the minimum wage. Then businesses raise prices. No one gains anything.”

This argument is incorrect. But in order to explain it, I think we need an illustration.

Needless to say, in any business, there are lots and lots of variables at work at any given time. But for the sake of simplicity and clarity, let’s focus on the example below:

A woman owns a coffee shop. She is open 10 hours per day, and she has 2 FTEs working that whole time. So she is paying for 20 hours per day.

She is forced to raise the wage from $8 to $10. That means she is paying staff $40 more each day.

The business owner could address this several ways: she could take $40/day less profit. She probably doesn’t want to do that. She could cut staff, but then she could not meet customer demand. So she decides to increase prices.

The shop sells 20 coffees per hour. Each coffee costs $2.50. That amounts to $500/day in revenues. The owner needs $540/day in revenues in order to stay profitable.

To get to $540/day, coffees need to increase 20 cents each – from $2.50 to $2.70. That gets the owner to $540/day.

Obviously, there are some assumptions here: primarily, we are assuming coffee sales remain the same. I believe that is a reasonable assumption.

Divide the coffee purchasing public into quintiles. The poorest quintile cannot afford $2.50 coffee. They are not customers. The second quintile really cannot afford the $2.50 coffee, but will treat themselves a few times per year. The third quintile buys coffee here, but irregularly. They may gripe about the price, but they buy. The fourth quintile buys coffee here regularly. The wealthiest quintile also buys here regularly.

So we raised the price from $2.50 to $2.70. The three wealthiest quintiles are still buying coffee; their purchasing behavior does not change. The people in the second quintile may buy a bit less, but they do not buy much, anyway. They still treat themselves occasionally. The poorest quintile? They make a couple thousand dollars per year more. They may now be able to buy coffee on occasion!

The point is this – the increase in prices is borne by ALL the customers, not just the poorest customers. So low-income workers come out ahead. Yes, they pay a bit more, but because we ALL pay a bit more, their incomes go farther.

I hope this helps people to see how an increase in the minimum wage can be covered by a small increase in prices.

*Iowa Shares
         I often write in support of the United Way, which is a favorite charity of mine. But I would be remiss to ignore our friends at Iowa Shares!

Iowa Shares is a coalition of social change, environmental and cultural nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Iowa. We make a direct impact on our communities through research, education, advocacy and direct service.

You can be a part of supporting Iowa Shares through workplace giving and direct support. Your gifts, no matter what size, will make it possible for our members to support the arts within our community, educating the public on threats to our air and water, protect animals, fight for equality and human rights, and so much more!

For much more information, visit:

*DID YOU KNOW?  Since 1938, the federal minimum wage has been increased 22 times. For more than 75 years, real GDP per capita has steadily increased, even when the minimum wage has been raised. (Source: US Department of Labor.)

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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