Johnson County Supervisor profiles

Primary elections set for June 7

Posted

Jon Green, a Democrat from Lone Tree, and Jammie Bradshaw, a Republican from Lone Tree, are among five candidates running for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Two seats are open for four-year terms, beginning January 2023. Five candidates qualified for the primary election, June 7, and four candidates will be on the November ballot: two Democrats and two Republicans.

Green, a former Lone Tree mayor, is currently serving as a County Supervisor after winning a special election in June 2021 to finish out the term of Janelle Rettig.

Here is a look at all five candidates:

DEMOCRATS

V FIXMER-ORAIZ

Residence: Iowa City
Family: Married with two children, ages 4 and 7.

Past offices held: Chair, Iowa City Housing and Community Development Commission

Number of years as Democrat: 24 years

Current employment: Founder and CEO, Astig Planning LLC

Major accomplishments: Two statewide planning awards for the Coralville Flood Resilience Action Plan, owner of small business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic that has supported eight staff, parent to two young children and partner to a wonderful wife.

What are your goals as Supervisor, if elected:

If elected, I would like to explore ways in which we can continue to generate creative solutions to alleviate housing insecurity. We have some of the most expensive housing in the state and I believe that safe, affordable housing is the cornerstone of our community. I would foster an inclusive culture in this county where no matter what you look like or where you come from, you feel welcome when applying for a commercial kitchen license or have ideas to expand your farm business.

 

Why are you running for Supervisor?

I am running to become a Johnson County Supervisor because I believe we are at a critical moment. We have had two plus years of the Covid-19 pandemic where we have lost so many loved ones and the gaps in our social safety nets have been widened in ways that left entire communities behind. Still, I believe that resilience and healing are possible. We must learn from these lessons and become more prepared in ways that support all members of our community. As a professional community planner, I have the experience, knowledge, and passion for this leadership position.

 

What are the top two challenges facing Johnson County?

As a county, we are facing multiple challenges that require long-term planning and urgent action. Significant attention and resources are needed for climate resilience, affordable housing, equity and inclusion, transportation, and COVID-19 recovery. To make genuine progress on these complex challenges, we must understand the issues, create and/or deepen relationships, and generate new ideas from trusted collaborators.

We are very fortunate in Johnson County to have smart, passionate people in our community. We are leaders in the state when it comes to tackling difficult issues. I am an experienced convener, listener, and problem-solver who will put in the work to arrive at actionable solutions.

 

JON GREEN

Residence: Rural Lone Tree
Family: Happily divorced, no children. I live with my partner Eleanore.
Years on Supervisors board: one; has served on the board since June 2021.
Past offices held: Mayor, Lone Tree (2018-2019).
Number of years as Democrat: Since registration on my 18th birthday.
Current employment: County Supervisor
Major accomplishments: Allocation of $29.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for Johnson County, especially $2 million for direct stabilization payments to our most vulnerable; clean water investments; broadband improvements; denying the Johnson County Sheriff his request for an armored vehicle; a renewed focus of attention on southern Johnson County.

What are your goals as Supervisor, if elected:
We have an affordability crisis in the northern half of Johnson County and an underinvestment crisis in the southern half. It can be difficult to afford a place to live north and impossible to find a place to live south. I have spent much effort in the past year to bring attention and resources to plentify opportunities in southern Johnson County and will continue to do so, not because we especially deserve them but because this is where I'm from and where I know -- and because that knowledge is unique not only on the current board but also among the candidates for these two seats.

While the Board has mostly finished the initial work of allocating the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money President Biden passed for us, we have the next four years to actually spend those dollars, and as anyone who watches government understands, how something is described in a budget is often far from what happens in real life. A full term on the Board would provide an opportunity to ensure the projects the Board has approved happen as intended.

ARPA also provides an opportunity to rebuild local governments beyond the county. As mayor of Lone Tree, I was frustrated by our lack of staff and professional resources. Johnson County now can offer resources to the smaller communities here to do things financial constraints long
made impossible. We need to be better partners to small towns and offer expertise, resources and help wherever possible. As a former Lone Tree mayor, I also understand these offers must be welcome. The county cannot impose itself upon municipalities, we must be partners.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

I care deeply about the place I have decided to make my home. I'm here because I chose to be here. Whether it's flushing hydrants in the middle of the night as mayor of Lone Tree or wading through hundreds of pages of material to prepare for meetings, whether it's engaging with neighbors who have problems they need solved or trying to find the best way to get a development going, I give a damn. No one will always agree with me, but I hope you understand I'm earnest, determined and caring for Johnson County.

What are the top two challenges facing Johnson County?

Inertia and ambivalence. When you've got a good thing, it's easy enough to sit back and smile while the world overtakes you. And the world is overtaking us. We have a water quality crisis that's going to require a rethinking of how we do farming in Iowa; we can't continue sending our best topsoil down the river along with enough hog manure to kill you. If someone wants to live in northern Johnson County they may well not be able to afford it if they're not making a supervisor's salary, and if they want to live in southern Johnson County, good luck finding a house. For those of us who have ours, life seems pretty good. But it isn't sustainable, and we need to address these problems now, while we can do so with less impact. If we go on as we are, in another decade we'll find ourselves in a rough way. I know this because too many of us are already in a rough way. Now is the time to act.

SETH ZIMMERMAN

Residence: Solon
Family: Married, three children, plus a dog and a cat.
Past positions include: nine years on supervisory boards for nonprofit organizations.

Number of years as Democrat: lifelong

Current employment: Linn County Public Health

Major accomplishments: I feel like some of my major accomplishments are raising three kind, thoughtful and truly decent children. Designing and building my own home using as many sustainable practices as possible. Helping my wife to start and sustain a successful business called Get Fresh. I also have helped to manage, and participate in an annual volunteer river cleanup called Iowa Project AWARE that has removed 918,000 pounds of garbage from Iowa rivers.

What are your goals as Supervisor, if elected:
I have spent most of my life studying the environment and it is clear there are a lot of issues that we need to deal with. If elected, my hope is that we can stop talking about whether or not there is a problem or whose fault it is and just start cleaning it up. I have the ability to reach out to all sides of an issue and bring people together to solve the big problems that we have to address.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

Johnson County is an incredibly special place where people look out for one another and embrace our differences. I want to work to support my community and all the people who have worked so hard to make it such an incredible place.

What are the top challenges facing Johnson County?

I feel that the most pressing issues in Johnson County right now are access to food, health care including mental health, and people not being paid a livable wage. We live on the most fertile land in the world and it is my belief that no child should go to bed hungry. When food insecurity is an issue in your life, it is hard to focus on anything else. There are a number of groups in the community that are already working on these issues and I am excited to support them and foster increased collaboration between groups. The county and community helped open the Guidelink Center one year ago in an effort to get people help when they are in crisis. I would continue to support efforts to get people the services they need when they need them. Creating an environment where everyone in the county makes a living wage and can support themselves and their families is a recipe for a thriving community. The county set a minimum wage of $10.10 in 2015, but the state then passed a law preventing localities from passing any ordinance designed to improve wages and working conditions, further eroding home rule. Many employers in Johnson County have embraced the minimum wage set by the county even though it is not enforceable. They know providing a living wage for their employees reduces turnover and training costs and results in better service, and higher wages come back to their businesses as consumer spending. The messaging and the leadership of the Board was critical. If we can listen to the community to identify their needs, come up with common sense solutions to the problem, and activate the citizenry of Johnson County we can overcome great challenges.

REPUBLICANS

PHIL HEMINGWAY

Residence: Rural Johnson County
Family: Wife, Anita; daughter, Monica, and son-in-law, Kevin

Past offices held: Iowa City School Board member, 2015-19.
Number of years as Republican: 44

Past election: Lost to Jon Green in a special election for County Supervisor in June 2021.

Current employment: Certified Master Auto Technician

Major accomplishments: Husband; father; operating my own business since 1997; managed Roy Carver's cattle ranch in Belize, Central America for 5 years; elected to ICCSD in 2015.

 

What are your goals as Supervisor, if elected?

I look to bring fiscal oversight, rural representation and a fresh perspective to the Board of Supervisors. My blue-collar background and common sense are presently lacking on the county board. Johnson County desperately needs a fiscal watchdog and someone with farming and rural life experience to bring balance to the board, especially in this hyperinflationary period.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

Inflation doesn’t just start in Washington, D.C., it starts right here in Johnson County with our supervisors’ over-regulatory and burdensome policies and actions. We are in a hyperinflationary period where the cost of everything is going through the roof. The present Supervisors raising their personal salaries in the midst of this hyperinflationary period only serves as a poor example of failed leadership. I also am the only candidate in the last five election cycles who has pledged to not seek nor accept a raise in compensation during my term. I said that in 2018 and I stand by it today. We must lower the financial burden on every resident of Johnson County, and it has to start with the supervisors. The county needs someone paying attention to how the money is spent and I have a proven track record with my board service to that end.

What are the top two challenges facing Johnson County?

There are many challenges facing the county, but one in particular is the high cost of living. The county needs a fiscal watchdog and someone who will keep the focus on county issues and not try to legislate State issues from the Johnson County board table. Concerning my school board service, The Gazette editorial board stated: “There simply is no other member of the school board with his tenacity or attention to detail especially on fiscal matters.

The second issue is rural representation. For far too long, rural residents have not felt that anyone on the Board of Supervisors recognizes the challenges of rural life and are viewed by many on the board as adversaries. Rural residents need an ally and someone who understands rural life and its challenges. I look to bridge this gap and be a representative of the entire county, not just the large urban areas.

 

JAMMIE BRADSHAW

Residence: Rural Lone Tree
Family: Mother of 4; married to dual service veteran who served in US Air Force and Army.

Past offices held: I have never held public office. I find this to be a strength as I am bringing a fresh new perspective to the position.

Number of years as a Republican: I have been a Republican since 2010 when I joined the military and traveled the world.

Employment: My current employment is as a drone technician and specialist. However, my career specialty would be termed as an Engineering Analyst. What this means is that I work with companies to find out where they are bleeding or losing money. I do a complete analysis of the company from a processes, employee, maintenance, and financial perspective to find where we can make the company more successful. I have worked with Boeing to design the maintenance programs for their new KC46 program. I served in the US Air Force as both a crew chief, or flight line mechanic, and in a plans and scheduling position, which is planning for the unplannable to make sure that aircraft and missions are able to succeed. I came to Iowa to work for a drone company called BladeEdge that specializes in using drones and AI technology to inspect wind turbines. Here I helped to work with the AI teaching it how to detect faults and extend the life of the wind turbine, saving companies millions of dollars a year. Now, I work with a start-up company that uses drones in precision agriculture. This company uses drones to achieve more precise coverage for crops in a much more environmentally friendly way. Reducing the amount of waste that is put on the ground creating a safer and healthier crop for everyone.

Major accomplishments: My life has been a series of what I would consider major accomplishments. I went to Japan at the age of 14 as a student ambassador from the US. I served in the US Air Force for 10 years and deployed during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. I survived having a double mastectomy in August due to breast cancer. I have seen 10 different countries and learned about and from multiple cultures and backgrounds.

What are your goals as Supervisor, if elected?

Bring pride back to Johnson County: I want Johnson County to be a place that has growth and opportunity, while still maintaining that small town feeling of being a family. 

Getting the People involved: I want people to feel and be part of the decisions that are made in Johnson County.

Cutting Taxes: because of my background as an engineering analyst I know how to look for where money and resources are being wasted. I want to do a complete analysis on the budget and taxes collected and find where the county is losing money and resources. From there I want to see how we can reduce or eliminate this waste and put more money back into the pockets of the citizens of Johnson County.

Putting the Service back into Public Service: I do not believe that serving in a public office should be a career. I think that as a Supervisor it is your duty to seek to make the county as prosperous as it can be. I also believe that being a Supervisor should not be a position that puts you in a wealth bracket above the citizens that you are serving. I believe that Supervisors should make the same amount as the median income for the county that they serve. Because of this I will always vote NO on any pay raises for the Supervisor position.

Why are you running for Supervisor?

As a mother teaching my children how to be productive members of society doesn't just mean following the rules. It means working to make a change when you see that change needs to be made. It means going out and putting in the work to make the world that you live in the best that it can possibly be. I am running to show my children that this is what you do when you know there is a change needed. For over 50 years there has not been a full term Republican in office as a Supervisor in Johnson County. This means that there has been a lack of various party representation. I want to change that and make it so that everyone in Johnson County is represented. I believe that Johnson County has a fantastic blend of multiple backgrounds, cultures, and views that all need to be considered when making any decisions in the county. I also believe that it's my turn to give back to the county that I call HOME, to help shape it into the future that the people of Johnson County want it to be.

What are the top two challenges facing Johnson County?

For far too long the people of Johnson County have watched as the county has slowly become run by a single mindset of people. The rural perspective has been lost and ultimately silenced. Parents have watched as their children leave for better opportunities in other countries or states.

Taxes: Taxes in Johnson County are smothering businesses and eliminating opportunities that OUR children would have in the future. This is causing the housing costs to rise and making affordable housing out of reach for many. Fuel costs are higher than the counties around us, along with food costs. This forces families to sacrifice in order to continue putting food on the table and keeping a house running.

Not having a voice: By having the Supervisor meetings during the day is reducing the ability for the people of the county to really get involved in any decisions that are made. If the meetings could be moved to at least once a month at night and once a month or more at different town halls in Johnson County, EVERYONE would be able to have a chance to be involved. Giving the people a chance to really be involved in the decisions of the county and having a voice in matters of the county is a huge factor in making the county the best it can be. We need every voice to be given the opportunity to be heard in order to really come together as a community as a whole. 

 

Johnson County, Supervisors, election, Jon Green, V Fixmer-Oraiz, Seth Zimmermann, Jammie Bradshaw, Phil Hemingway

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