Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 20, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     4/25/17

In this edition:

*Congratulations Clayton!
*A Unified Front is Not Always Good!
*Definitely Not a United Front!
*Back to That Bad Legislation…
*Johnson County Earns Bicycle Friendly Business Gold
*Worker’s Memorial Day
*Did You Know?

*Congratulations Clayton!
         Congratulations to Clayton Schuneman, who becomes Johnson County’s next Medical Examiner Administrative Director on May 3rd.

         Clayton is a Board Certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. Clayton earned his BA in anthropology from the University of Iowa with specialties in biological anthropology and human osteology. Clayton spent 5 years working for the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist, primarily for the Burials Program, where he worked locating and excavating clandestine burials. Clayton is a graduate of the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics EMSLRC EMT Training Program and has been with the Medical Examiner Department since 2010.

         Clayton is highly regarded by professionals in the legal, public health, law enforcement, mortuary, and medical fields. Congratulations, Clayton!

*A Unified Front is Not Always Good!
         I am a probably not a very nice guy for bringing this up. Especially at this time. After all, Democrats in the Iowa Legislature are just finishing a noble fight against all kinds of horrible legislation. It was a situation that called for unity, and the Dems came through. Every one of them fought heroically, and for that, I thank them.

         But a unified front is not ALWAYS a good thing. There are plenty of times when political parties benefit from debate and differences of opinion.

         Here is a perfect example of the problem: marijuana laws. Democrats in the Iowa Legislature who believe in legalization seem unwilling to do anything to make other Dems in the Legislature uncomfortable.

         I say tough! Since when do we put the needs and wants of 3 million people on hold so some dude doesn’t have to take a stand on an issue? We could not be in a much bigger electoral hole. There is little to lose. If we don’t have the guts to do something on this now, expect the Libertarians to get 10% in the next election. And watch the GOP adopt the idea before Democrats do. It is the exact opposite of Profiles in Courage! (In fairness, the same is true in the Iowa GOP.)

Here is another example: the 2016 Iowa Caucuses. Unlike 2008, where there was robust debate between Obama and Clinton, our Democratic Iowa Legislators rallied lockstep behind Secretary Clinton. Of the 70 Democrats in the Iowa Legislature, 69 caucused for Clinton, and one (Johnson County Senator Kevin Kinney) for O’Malley. So the State of Iowa is split 50-50 between Sanders and Clinton, but Legislators favor Clinton 99%-1? Really?

This hasn’t worked very well, anyhow. All the Legislative Dems endorsed Blouin; we got Culver. All the Legislative Dems backed Hogg; we got Judge. I fail to see how this is helping anyone.

         Now we approach the 2018 Gubernatorial race, and the Democrats in the Iowa Legislature have an opportunity. I hope they decide to endorse all sorts of different candidates. I don’t want to hear a message coming from Des Moines that “we are all on the same team.” Diversity of thought is a strength, not a weakness!

         My advice to our Democratic Legislators? First, a few of you ought to run for Governor. Why not? But if you are not interested in doing that, just join the rest of us in making a choice. Democrats in Iowa are tired of being told what we HAVE to do. We want to choose, and we don’t need your thumbs on the scale.

         In short? Give us what we want (legal marijuana) and let us make our own decisions (Governor). We are adults.

*Definitely Not a United Front!
         No one could ever claim the members of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors were all in the tank for a single candidate! Want proof?

         In the 2008 Democratic Party Caucuses, the 5 Supervisors backed 5 different candidates! Pat Harney supported Chris Dodd. Larry Meyers supported Joe Biden. Terrence Neuzil supported John Edwards. Sally Stutsman supported Hillary Clinton. I supported Barack Obama. Five Supervisors - five Presidential candidates!

*Back to That Bad Legislation…
         The 2017 Legislative session is the worst in Iowa’s history, bar none. The damage done by the GOP may take 2 generations to fix completely.

The GOP set its’ sights on attacking low wage workers, clean water, the environment, voters, Medicaid recipients, people with mental illness, women’s health, schools, local governments, teachers and other public employees. Mission accomplished! Life in Iowa is now much worse for each of these groups!

In addition, they squandered our reserve funds, gave tax breaks to out of state corporations, and created gun laws that will make it easier to kill Iowans of color.

         There is no point in sugar coating it – the 2017 session was horrible. The 2018 elections will tell us a lot about what type of State Iowa wants to be.

*Johnson County Earns Bicycle Friendly Business Gold
The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the Johnson County Downtown Campus with a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business award.

         The local government campus, which includes the Administration Building, the Health and Human Services Building, and the nearly completed Ambulance and Medical Examiner Building, was the only entity in Iowa to earn a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) designation in this round of awards. A total of 30 Iowa businesses have now earned BFB designations, which can range from bronze to platinum.

Johnson County’s Downtown Campus was recognized for efforts such as bike-to-work-month activities, regular educational events, participation in the Move Naturally to the Market program, bicycle racks at every building, and bicycles provided for employee use.

*Worker’s Memorial Day
Each year dozens of Iowa workers are killed at work and hundreds more suffer work-related injuries or diseases. Join us to remember those who have died on the job, hear from workers and advocates who are confronting workplace hazards, and renew our dedication to the struggle for safer workplace.

A remembrance will be held Friday, April 28 from 12:30-1:30 PM near the Ped Mall fountain in Iowa City.
Sponsored by Iowa City Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, The Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa, and the University of Iowa Labor Center.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Just over 40% of all deaths that occur in Johnson County are reviewed by the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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