4 to vie for supervisor

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 27, 2014 5:00 AM

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As the registration period to apply to run for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors election ended on Wednesday, four candidates have come forward, each with a unique platform.

The candidates running for the two open seats include two incumbents, Democrat Janelle Rettig and Republican John Etheredge, and two new Democratic candidates, Lisa Green-Douglass and Mike Carberry.

Key issues for several candidates included updating the aging Johnson County Courthouse and Jail, balancing land use between development and agriculture, and increased mental-health and disability services.

A reported 9,736 people voted in the supervisor election in 2010, according to the Johnson County website.

The primary election day is on June 3.

John Etheredge:

John Etheredge lives in Lone Tree and attended Kirkwood Community College, graduating with an associate’s degree in applied sciences. Etheredge has previously been a small-business owner.

Etheredge said his key issues are making the county more efficient, which includes a state bill he and representatives from Johnson County are working on to develop an online voter registration log.

Johnson County has warehouses full of boxes of paper work on voter registration, Etheredge said, and moving these documents online would allow the county to repurpose the warehouses to store county vehicles.

A new roads plan is also in the works.

“Now that we’ve fixed up our big roads, it’s time for secondary roads,” he said.

Getting heavy traffic off of the secondary roads and onto the main county and state highways is another aspect of the road plan, Etheredge said.

Janelle Rettig:

Janelle Rettig has served on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors and has also served on the Johnson County Emergency Management Commission, the Urban County Coalition Committee, and as a staffer for Rep. Jim Leach.

One the biggest issues Johnson County will face is a growing population, Rettig said.

She said some county departments are setting records monthly with the number of people requesting their services. This creates a stress on the departments and the county as a whole.

Rettig saod another key issue is growing the conservation efforts and recreational options the county offers. She said those options need to expand with the county.

Overall, Rettig said she hopes to improve the general quality of life in Johnson County through these efforts.

Mike Carberry:

Mike Carberry graduated from the University of Iowa in 1983 with a bachelor of business Administration. He is a longtime member of the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Farmers Union and helped with writing and passing the Johnson County Wind Turbine Ordinances.

Carberry said his focus is on sustainability — a field he said he and his environmental consulting company, Green State Solutions, have worked in for several years.

He said Johnson County is expected to grow by 30,000 people in the next 10 years and managing this expected growth will be very important.

Stopping urban sprawl and protecting agriculture land will be key in management of the growth, Carberry said, because the county receives almost the same amount of tax dollars for a house in the city as it does for a house in a rural area.

Another part of Carberry’s platform is an upgrade to the courthouse and jail.

The courthouse, he said, needs security upgrades including metal detectors, and the jail is overcrowded, at double the capacity it was built for.

Another goal he will focus is to push for easier access local food for community members and restaurants.  He said his goal is to make Johnson County the local food capitol of Iowa.

Lisa Green-Douglass:

Lisa Green-Douglass spent 17 years teaching Spanish at the University of Iowa and Cornell College. She has worked as a consultant and corporate trainer with Command Spanish and also teaches job-specific Spanish to law enforcement, correctional officers, paramedics, and conservation officers.

Green-Douglass said she would push for a county ID system that would act as a form of identification for Johnson County residents who do not have driver’s licenses.

Green-Douglass said she would advocate for scattered affordable housing, instead of clustering it together. 

She also emphasized the importance of discussion about a person’s income when it comes to affordable housing.

Like Carberry, she said her issues include updating the courthouse and jail, as well as responsible land use.

Both Carberry and Green-Douglass will also advocate for increased services for those with mental-health issues.

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