Two seats on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will be on the primary ballot

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I Voted Today stickers, shown Oct. 26, 2016. — photo by Zak Neumann

Two members of the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will be selected by voters during the June 5 primary. No other county-level office will be decided on Tuesday. Johnson County Treasurer Thomas Kriz, Recorder Kim Painter and County Attorney Janet Lyness — all incumbnents and all Democrats — are running unopposed.

There are three candidates for the two available supervisor seats. Incumbents Mike Carberry and Janelle Rettig are seeking reelection. Pat Heiden, who retired after 20 years as executive director of the Oaknoll Retirement Community, is the third candidate in the race. Voters will be electing two candidates to serve four-year terms. All three candidates are Democrats.

Heiden raised more money than both the incumbents combined between Jan. 1 and May 14. Heiden raised $26,100, which includes a $5,000 loan she contributed to her campaign. Carberry raised $9,912 during the same period, and Rettig raised $8,061.

Rettig, a Democrat, first joined the Board of Supervisors in October 2009, when she was appointed to fill an open seat. Three months later, she won a special election that allowed her to retain the seat until the fall election, when she was elected to a full four-year term. Rettig was reelected in 2014.

Rettig has helped create and implement progressive policies, from the Community IDs to the county’s sustainability plan, during her two terms in office. On her campaign site, Rettig promises to build on the accomplishments of her first term, and lists the creation of a crisis intervention training center for the county as a priority for a new term.

Carberry is completing his first term and is currently chair of the Board of Supervisors. In his campaign, Carberry has stressed the need to address the issues of affordable housing and food insecurity in the county. Carberry has also highlighted his background working in renewable energy, but a darker side to his time as executive director of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association made headlines recently.

Carberry became executive director of the association on May 1, 2009, and according to the findings of an Iowa Workforce Development administrative law judge, “it soon became evident that he was a poor manager. The problems increased so much that the Board considered disincorporation and functioning without an executive director.” Problems escalated after Carberry made a series of sexist comments to a female co-worker, and the association’s board of directors decided to eliminate the position of executive director and demoted Carberry. Carberry subsequently resigned in Oct. 2010.

After these incidents were raised during this year’s campaign, Carberry published an apology for his comments to his co-worker on Facebook. Speaking to the Press-Citizen editorial board, Carberry said, “It was regrettable. I’ve learned my lesson.” He added, “I am a better man because of it. And I’m a better leader and a better elected official because of that.” After interviewing Carberry, the Press-Citizen endorsed him for reelection.

On her campaign site, Heiden said, “I am a strong and experienced leader who will facilitate cooperation, compromise and common sense.” She lists improving services for seniors and mental health services as priorities. This is Heiden’s second run for the board. In 2016, she ran shortly after changing her party affiliation to Democrat earlier that year. The year before that change, Heiden had been registered as Republican.

Polls open on June 5 at 7 a.m. and close at 9 p.m.

With additional reporting by Abby Evans

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