Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

November 28, 2018 What does it mean ‘to be represented’
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Our nominee

Royceann Porter is the Democratic Party nominee for supervisor in the Dec. 18 special election for Johnson County supervisor. Porter becomes the first ever African-American nominee for countywide office.

I know there are some people out there who do not like her. Fact is, you cannot step up and become a public figure without making some people angry. Porter has embraced her leadership role, and there are some people who do not like her because of that.

I have known Porter since our daughters became friends more than 15 years ago. This is one strong, determined woman.

Are you “represented?”

I am so tired of hearing candidates say that the people they speak with are “unrepresented.” What does that mean? I think when people say it, they are usually talking about geography.

Geography is but one thing that binds people together. Despite the immigration of the past two decades, we remain a small community in many ways.

Frankly, most elections are won because of who your Mom and Dad are/were. There are old friendships to take into account. Every election has issues of gender, race, religion, occupation, education, political party and income level, just to name a few.

This does not even take into account the actual issues of the day – public safety, roads, social services, taxes and the like. Does geography matter? Yes, but not nearly as much as people think.

I generally dislike identity politics. I am more interested in policy. I frequently hear, “We need a couple rural folks on the board.” I understand the reasoning, but I disagree. Look at all the flaws in this argument:

We have that already. Supervisor Friese lived southeast of North Liberty; Supervisor Green Douglas lives northwest of North Liberty. As recently as 2000, all board members lived in the rural areas.

Not all rural folks think alike, and not all rural folks will vote alike. Remember – rural does not necessarily equate to farmer.

Johnson County has about 4,000 on-farm residents. That amounts to 2.5 percent of overall county residents, and a little less than one in five rural residents. Johnson County has many more teachers than farmers; why don’t we need a teacher on the board?

In continuing the identity politics, Johnson County is home to 8,500 Latinos; 10,500 African-Americans; 13,000 people with disabilities; 8,000 gays and lesbians; 20,000 seniors; and 25,000 people with master’s degrees or higher. Must we ensure that each of these groups is represented? If so, how do we accomplish this on a five-person board?

What does it mean “to be represented?”

While not African-American, I am sensitive to issues of race through having three African-American children. While not a farmer, I grew up on a farm, and we still have several in the family. While I do not have a disability, I used to work at The Arc. Each supervisor could go on similarly as to why she/he represents everyone well.

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