Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

December 7, 2017 Sullivan’s Salvos: Rural roots aplenty
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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Goodbye, Mickey!

Johnson County is saying goodbye to our Grants and Communications Specialist Mickey Miller. If you have noticed all the tweets, posts, and information coming from Johnson County – that is Miller at work. Plus, she has helped us to secure several tens of thousands in grant funding over the years. Thanks, Mickey, for all your great work!

Miller is leaving to focus on her small business – Mount Vernon Confections. The chocolate is great. Check them out online or on Main Street in Mount Vernon!


Candidates, parties, and Johnson County

As I have mentioned previously, I have yet to choose a gubernatorial candidate. Regardless of which candidate I choose, I can tell you what I am going to demand from her or him. The same goes for anyone running for statewide or federal office, and political parties: quit using Johnson County! I am REALLY tired of Democratic candidates and the Democratic Party engaging in a one-way relationship with the people of this county!

Here is what happens 95 percent of the time: The candidate/party leader shows up at a fundraiser, and laughs about “how great it is to be here in Democratic Johnson County!”

Next, they extract an inordinate amount of campaign contributions and volunteer time from the people of Johnson County. Then, if things go REALLY well, she/he is elected, with Johnson County providing a 30,000 (or more) vote Democratic margin.

Then we move to governing. Now the newly elected person/party has bad news: she/he can’t support any progressive legislation. Because, well, “There are other counties out there, you know! They aren’t all like Johnson County!”

I am tired of dancing this same dance every two years. Step up, Democratic candidates and Democratic Party!


Being “rural”

I just wrote something similar to this a couple months ago. But the same tired arguments keep popping up. But this is a topic I care a lot about, so here we go again:

There is a lot of talk about the “urban-rural divide.” While there is certainly something to this, I think it is largely a political construct. There are people who benefit from making things “us versus them” rather than bringing everyone together. I guess what really chaps me is people who grew up in Chicago, Des Moines and Bettendorf trying to tell me I do not understand farm life. I take that really personally. I grew up way out in the country, on a gravel road, a few miles from the nearest paved road. I rode the school bus 40 minutes each way. We had a party line phone. Rather than buy eggs at the store, we gathered them from a cousin’s hens. Though we didn’t use them, our house had an outhouse, a summer kitchen, a cistern, and a root cellar.

Both sides of my Mom’s family have Heritage Farms. You know Century Farms? That’s 100 years. Heritage Farms are 150 years in the same family. My family has been farming the same area since before Iowa was a state!

As a young person, I did just about every type of farm work. I baled hay, walked beans, hayed horses, picked sweet corn, de-tassled corn, moved cattle, loaded hogs, and picked apples, just to name a few.

Want to talk rural? I am happy to talk rural! I will put my rural bona fides up against just about anyone! So don’t tell me “no one on the board understands rural life.” First, you are wrong. Second, I take deep offense at that. If you want to talk policy, we can talk policy. But don’t challenge my roots, ‘cause brother, they are deep!


Iowa’s cities

I was at a legislative forum the other day and picked up these tidbits from the Iowa League of Cities:

As of 2010, Iowa had 947 incorporated cities. (The number is slightly lower now.) Over 490 of those cities are home to less than 500 people. Over 750 of those cities lost population over the past ten years!

Cities in Johnson County look much different. No cities in Johnson County are below 500 people. No cities in Johnson County lost population. Iowa City ranks as Iowa’s 5th-most populous city at 77,000 residents, while Coralville (20,200) and North Liberty (19,000) come in at numbers 24 and 25.

Iowa’s largest city is Des Moines, with about 215,000 residents. Beaconsfield and LeRoy are tied for the honor of smallest city at 15 people each.

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