Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 23, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/29/16

In this edition:

*A Bit Early This Week…
*Term Limits
*Refugees and the Christmas Story
*Did You Know?

*A Bit Early This Week…
         The Holidays are here, and so is your latest edition of Salvos – just a bit early. Happy Holidays!

I will be joining several of my fellow Johnson County employees at the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) meetings in Des Moines Wednesday through Friday of the upcoming week.

         In light of the recent elections, I think ISAC can serve as a model for the State and Federal levels of government.

         I had the pleasure and privilege of serving on the ISAC Supervisors’ Legislative Committee. It consisted of about eight Supervisors from around the State. As it happened, I was the only Democrat, and the only Supervisor from an urban county. Most of them hail from very rural counties west of I-35.

         So the ISAC Legislative priorities must read like a right wing wish list, right? Nope. Nothing could be further from the truth!

         I am very proud of the ISAC Legislative priorities. They are common sense suggestions that will serve Iowans well, and we arrived at them in a bipartisan fashion. Yes, we had some debates. Maybe even an argument. But we found plenty of areas of agreement.

         By the way – those priorities include mental health, food inspections, distracted driving, water quality, and local governmental control. A common sense agenda for all Iowans!

*Term Limits
Regardless of who wins, the public is not well served by our current system. Self-preservation becomes the first order of business. Lobbyists and moneyed interests are second. Party considerations are third. All too often, the needs of the public fall to a distant fourth.

I think the time has come for all US citizens – left, center, and right – to call for term limits.

         I used to oppose term limits. I dislike limiting the selections of the voters. But as I have grown older and more cynical, I see no other way to really affect change.

Term limits might artificially create some courage where currently little exists. Term limits do not seem to have diminished the Presidency nor the many Governorships that are subject to them.

         First, I propose changing term for US Representative from 2 years to 4. (Those folks are literally running for office ALL THE TIME!) Give them time to actually learn and do the job – a four-year term.

Next, I would limit time of service to 4 terms (16 years) in the US House, and 2 terms (12 years) in the US Senate. That would allow a given individual to potentially serve for 28 years. 28 years! That is a long time – plenty long for any one person to serve.

I know many folks claim that term limits would shift power away from elected Reps to staff people and lobbyists. My response? There is no possible way lobbyists could get more power. Under term limits, Reps might do the right thing on the way out the door.

Do I propose the same system for the Iowa House and Senate? Not yet. I am not yet convinced that the Iowa Legislature is as completely under corporate control as the US Legislature. But it appears we are headed that way. The day where we need term limits at the State level may come, and soon. And when it does, term limits will probably make sense.

         So, what do you think? Are term limits a part of the solution? If not, what suggestions do you have?

*Refugees and The Christmas Story
         Thanksgiving is (unfortunately, in many cases) the kickoff to the Christmas Holiday. People will be shopping until they drop. But how does that relate to the actual origins of Christmas? And how does it relate to the news in our world today? I understand that not everyone who reads Salvos is a Christian. But if you are, you need to give this some thought.

Most readers are going to be familiar with “The Christmas Story”. Just in case you are not, I will give a quick synopsis:

         Due to events beyond their control, a group of people are forced to leave their homes. (In this case, to be counted in a census.) They travel to a different place, where the people turn their backs. No one will accept these refugees, so they are forced to take shelter in a manger, among the animals.

         You may recall the rest of the story – a woman gives birth to Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, the King of Kings. Yes - Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were Middle Eastern refugees.

         Young Jesus grows up, and tells several stories illustrating the Commandment – one of the two Greatest Commandments - that we love our neighbors as ourselves. The Parable of the Good Samaritan comes to mind.

         Even before the Christmas Story, there were many Biblical stories encouraging us to care for refugees: Deuteronomy 10:18-19 fits the present case: “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” Substitute the USA for Egypt, and we have something!

This story is one of two fundamental underpinnings of the whole Christian religion. This is what it is all about, folks. Taking in refugees. You may have a litany of reasons for refusing to help refugees. But Christianity is not among them! Refusing refugees is the very antithesis of the Christmas Story!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Presently, 15 states have term limits for legislators. In all 21 states have passed legislative term limits at one time or another, but the limits have been repealed or declared unconstitutional in six of those states.

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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