Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 27, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/2/17

In this edition:

*Goodbye, Andy Johnson!
*North Liberty City Election
*Please Ask Me!
*May Day
*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*Goodbye, Andy Johnson!
I regret to inform you that longtime Board Office Executive Director Andy Johnson is leaving Johnson County to join family in Omaha. While I am very happy for Andy and his family, this is quite a blow both personally and professionally.

If you have ever worked with Johnson County in any capacity, you know that Andy is the one that makes it all happen. I cannot even begin to describe all of his good qualities. Our Boards have not been the easiest groups for whom one could work. We are very flawed as individuals, and even more flawed as a group. But for the most part, things get done, and they get done because of Andy.

His wisdom, kindness, thoughtfulness, patience, honesty, humility, and decency are beyond comparison. I wish I was half as good a person as Andy. I could exhaust my thesaurus looking for words to explain how I feel about Andy, but I think I’ll settle on one: Grace. I never deserved a person like Andy as a friend or coworker, but I got to enjoy him as both. Grace. Thank you, Andy. Thank you for everything. Grace.

*North Liberty City Election
         The results are in from the North Liberty Special Election, and the winners were Terry Donahue as Mayor and Sarah Madsen for the Council.

         Donahue won an interesting three-way race that pitted two incumbent Councilors (Donahue and Chris Hoffman) against each other. Donahue won relatively convincingly, 48% to 39% for Hoffman and 12% for Matthew Pollock.

         Fun fact! Terry Donahue is one of the rare people to serve as Mayor of two Iowa cities, Creston and now North Liberty.

         Donahue had to give up his Council seat to run for Mayor, creating a 7 (!) person race to fill his term. This is amazing, because interest in politics in North Liberty has always been quite poor, frankly. It was extremely encouraging to see all these candidates!

         Sarah Madsen won a close race, defeating former Councilor Gerry Kuhl, 29-26%. Madsen serves as Corporate Counsel at True North Companies in Cedar Rapids.

While I only knew a few of them, most candidates looked very capable. And I had people I respect deeply supporting a variety of candidates; that speaks well for the whole group. Six of the seven candidates were between 29-38 years of age, which is also very encouraging!

A growing city like North Liberty needs multiple voices as part of the conversation. I hope all the candidates will stay involved in local government, and I hope a few will run for office again in the future.

         So how involved was the community as a whole? Turnout was 1025 voters, just shy of the record 1031 votes cast in 2005. That only amounts to 9.3% turnout, however – so we still have work to do.

         Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the candidates for throwing their hats into the ring!

*Please Ask Me!
         There is a lot of misinformation out there. Fake news is not just a national phenomenon – it happens right here. Just because someone posts something on Facebook or writes a letter to the Press Citizen does not mean they have their facts straight.

         You read these weekly missives. You must do so for a reason. So when you hear these things, ask me what I think. I may agree with the writer; I may disagree. But at least you are gaining some context.

         I am here. I am a resource. Please ask me.

*May Day
         In much of the world, May Day is a worker’s holiday. It used to be a holiday here, too, until an unreasonable fear of communism clouded our collective national judgment.

         May Day used to commemorate the Haymarket Incident. For those of you unfamiliar, the following is lifted largely from Wikipedia:

The Haymarket affair occurred during the course of a three-day strike that involved common laborers, artisans, merchants, and immigrants. Following an incident in which police opened fire and killed four strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant, a rally was called for the following day at Haymarket Square. The event remained peaceful, yet towards the end of the rally, as police moved in to disperse the event, an unknown assailant threw a bomb into the crowd of police. The bomb and resulting police riot left at least a dozen people dead, including seven policemen.

A sensational show trial ensued in which eight defendants were openly tried for their political beliefs, and not necessarily for any involvement in the bombing. The trial led to the eventual public hanging of four anarchists. In the following years, memory of the "Haymarket martyrs" was remembered with various May Day job actions and demonstrations.

So, on this May Day, I plan on tipping back a cold beverage in honor of the people who gave us the weekend!

*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 to attend. Our honorees deserve a big crowd!

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?  The international distress signal, "mayday," has nothing to do with the first of May. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning "come help me."

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

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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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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