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Republican incumbent is seeking reelection on the Board of Supervisors

BY ALEKSANDRA VUJICIC | OCTOBER 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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John Etheredge, the lone Republican on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, is seeking re-election to continue to bring a rural perspective to the board.

“I was raised the majority of my life in the rural unincorporated area of Johnson County, so I bring a lot of experience from the rural perspective to the Board of Supervisors,” he said.

As an incumbent, Etheredge hopes to keep his seat on the board in order to continue his work on improving government efficiency and participating in discussions about the County Land Use Plan.

He was elected in a March 5, 2013, during a special election to fill a vacated position on the board.

Two seats are open in this election, and he is running against incumbent Democrat Janelle Rettig and Mike Carberry, the chairman of the Johnson County Democrats.

Etheredge said party affiliation should not be a determining factor in the upcoming election.

“I really don’t think a national party should be dictating what a local elected official at the county level should be doing,” he said.

He said the supervisors should be nonpartisan, which is why he is running on his own vision.

During his 19 months in office Etheredge has worked toward government efficiency and reducing the cost of government for taxpayers. He initially approached different county departments in order to find out what he could do to maximize their efficiency.

He worked with Iowa House representatives to pass a bill allowing officials to store voter registrations electronically, saving the county thousands of dollars each year and clearing out storage space in warehouses.

Rep. Sally Stutsman, D-Riverside, said she appreciated Etheredge’s ability to work across party lines to pass the bill. As a Democrat, she said, it’s difficult to introduce a bill in the state House, which has a Republican majority.

“With John being a Republican, it was a good bipartisan effort that we were able to accomplish that,” she said.

Etheredge said he would look forward to meeting with even more departments to find room for improvement, which would ultimately save the county even more money.

In the long run, he said, county residents wouldn’t have to worry about their property taxes changing from year to year in order to pay for county services. Instead, the county could have enough money saved to hold the tax levy where it is. 

Etheredge said also hopes bringing his rural perspective to discussions about the County Land Use Plan.

As the plan stands now, the north border development area is the only space the county allows for development, aside from unincorporated villages.

Etheredge said instead of forcing development in certain areas of the county, such as cities, development should be encouraged where it makes sense.

“When a farmer down south wants to sell some property that is not good for farming or [agriculture] production, and they want to put a couple houses on it, why can’t we evaluate things on a case-by-case basis or have a list of criteria?” he said.

Lone Tree resident Colleen Westfall said Etheredge is a great representative for residents of the rural areas of Johnson County, especially the southern region of the county.

“He’s just a wealth of knowledge,” she said. 

The Board of Supervisors have jurisdiction outside of city limits, which is why Etheredge said it’s important to represent such rural residents.

“Having somebody [on the supervisors] who has lived there, grew up and raised in unincorporated Johnson County is very important to understanding the needs of those residents,” Etheredge said.


Johnson County Board of Supervisors

This week, The Daily Iowan will profile the candidates running for the two open spots on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

• Monday: Janelle Rettig, Democrat
• Today: John Etheredge, Republican
• Wednesday: Mike Carberry, Democrat


In today's issue:





 
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