Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 6, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     4/11/17

In this edition:

*Happy Easter!
*Oh No! A “Patchwork”!
*Higher Wages Gone, Hate Lives On!
*Congratulations Mike Hensch!
*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*Happy Easter!
         A very Happy Easter to those of you that celebrate it!

*Oh No! A “Patchwork”!
         I cannot even begin to describe how tired I am of hearing the GOP describe the current minimum wage situation as a “patchwork.” As a matter of fact, next time I hear it, I’ll likely vomit, so give me a wide berth.

         A bit of background: When Johnson County passed a higher minimum wage in 2015, a few of our cities voted for lower wages for their workers. This was completely legal. So it is true – there are cities in Johnson County with differing wages, creating what the GOP wails about as a “patchwork.”

         You know what else is a “patchwork”? Property taxes, sales taxes, property insurance, workers comp insurance, liability insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, rent, electric, gas, water, sewer, cable, garbage, recycling, parking, computers, office supplies, consulting, and pretty much every other expense a business can have! They are ALL “patchwork”! Costs are NEVER the same from location to location! The “patchwork" argument is nothing but a red herring!

         All of these businesses are used to paying differing amounts for all these items, and wages, too. After all, the minimum wage is different in several of our neighboring states. Businesses that cross state lines do this every day. Again, the “patchwork” argument is nothing but a red herring!

         We are going to fight another day on this issue – mark my words. Prepare to shoot down the predictable and untrue argument that a “patchwork” of wages is too hard for businesses.

*Higher Wages Gone, Hate Lives On!
         Last week, Republicans in the Iowa Legislature decided to lower the minimum wage in Johnson County by almost $3/hour, from $10.10 to $7.25. Disheartening? You bet!

         But people on both sides aren’t done yet! I received two separate pieces of hate mail this week – one at the Board Office and one at home. Both felt my advocacy for a higher minimum wage was a horrible attack on the local business community. Of course, neither of these brave souls signed their names.

         And this is why we are going to win this issue in the long run. Critics such as the two that wrote me are cowards. They don’t have the guts to describe the classist, sexist, racist, unchristian roots of their worldview. They are weak, and they hide behind anonymous letters.

The people who stood up at our public hearings and described the struggles of working low wage jobs? They are courageous. They are heroes. They are a big majority. And they are going to win this battle.

Ironically, a victory for the low wage workers is going to help small business owners. A huge part of our economy is consumer demand. Higher wages will stimulate consumer spending, and with it, economic growth. Don’t believe me? Ask an economist!

So, the battle for higher wages rages on. The question you should be asking yourself? Which side are you on?

*Congratulations Mike Hensch!
The Board of Supervisors recently voted to appoint a new Executive Director of the Board of Supervisors office. Mike Hensch, with the County since 2002, was selected for the position. Andy Johnson, who has served in that role the last eight years, will be leaving the County in early May.

Hensch has been the County’s Medical Examiner Administrator since 2005, and was a Medical Examiner Investigator with the County from 2002 to 2005. From 1999 to 2005, Hensch served as Director of Pastoral Care for Mercy Hospital. Prior to that position, Hensch was the manager of safety and security for the hospital. In the early 1990s, Hensch served as Executive Assistant to the Warren County, Iowa, Board of Supervisors. He served in the United States Navy from 1977 to 1983, working as a medical laboratory technologist.

Hensch holds a Master’s Degree in public affairs from the University of Iowa, a Bachelor’s Degree in law enforcement from Drake University and a Bachelor’s Degree in health care services from Southern Illinois University.

         As much as I’ll miss Andy, I am very excited by Mike’s new role. Under Mike’s leadership, the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Department went from one that was likely failing to meet the minimum state standards to perhaps the best medium-sized office in the whole Country!

         Mike is extremely smart, extremely organized, and always gets his work done on time and under budget. (That doesn’t necessarily sound like the description of a fun guy, but Mike also brings a great sense of humor to the job!)

         Meanwhile, Mike will remain the ME Administrator until his replacement begins work, so he could end up with a few pretty busy weeks. He has a great staff in the ME Office, and I am certain they can pick up the slack.

         Congratulations, Mike!

*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
Save the date! The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding our Annual Hall of Fame Awards event on Saturday, May 6 at 7pm at Brown Deer Country Club in Coralville.

Please join us for coffee, desserts, and plenty of old war stories! A cash bar will be available. Parking is free.

The Hall of Fame inductees for 2017 are: Nancy Porter, Tom Larkin and Joyce Bernardy, and Sally and Roger Stutsman. We hope you can join us in recognizing this remarkable group!

Tickets are available for a $25 suggested donation. People who cannot afford that amount should still feel welcome, but please call 354-7199 so we can get a count.

Sponsorships are available at the following levels:
$100         includes two tickets
$250         includes 4 tickets
$500         includes a whole table (8 tickets)

Checks can be mailed to:
Johnson County Democrats
PO Box 1773
Iowa City, IA 52244

If you have any questions, please contact Rod Sullivan at 354-7199 or We hope you will join us for a fun evening, and lend your voice to those who are honoring these very deserving people. We look forward to seeing you!

*DID YOU KNOW?  "Which Side Are You On?" is a song written in 1931 by Florence Reece, the wife of Sam Reece, a union organizer for the United Mine Workers in Harlan County, Kentucky.
In 1931, the miners and the mine owners of that region were locked in a bitter and violent struggle (called the Harlan County War). In an attempt to intimidate the Reece family, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men (hired by the mining company) illegally entered their family home. Sam had been warned in advance and escaped, but Florence and their children were terrorized in his place. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "Which Side Are You On?" on a calendar that hung in the kitchen of her home. She took the melody from a traditional Baptist hymn, "Lay the Lily Low".

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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