Jaimes: Porter unfit to represent Johnson County

Based on the topics covered in the Dec. 5 Board of Supervisors’ forum, Royceann Porter proved herself to be an unqualified candidate.


Sid Peterson

Johnson County supervisor candidates Royceann Porter and Phil Hemingway debate in a forum at City Hall on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. The election will be held on December 18, 2018.

Marina Jaimes, Opinion Columnist

“Oh no, I’m not going to make a pledge like that. Absolutely not,” declared Royceann Porter as she proudly answered the question “Do you pledge to vote against any raise in salary for supervisors for the rest of your term?”

Her answer clearly states her entitlement to tax dollars, but the entirety of her responses to questions at last week’s League of Women Voters County Supervisor Forum proves she is undeserving of them.

Porter, a Teamsters union organizer, is the Democrat running for the open seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. The special election is being held after the unfortunate passing of board member Kurt Friese.

Porter claimed the motivation to run for this seat was her 30 years of experience in the community as a leader, volunteer, and activist. Her experience in these unelected positions could not help her lackluster performance when faced with questions about Johnson County, though. 

Related: Johnson County Board of Supervisors candidates hold public forum

As the moderator asked a multitude of questions ranging from fiscal responsibility to social justice, Porter claimed she was unable to fully understand the questions or answered that the Board of Supervisors is currently doing a great job and if elected, she would maintain the status quo.

After being asked why she is moderately fiscally responsible, Porter responded with, “You keep going back to these fiscal things that I’m needing to learn and talk about, so I would just consider myself moderate” — an answer almost as inappropriate as advocating for a raise based on taxpayer dollars.

While she was occupied in giggling at her opponent’s answers, she could have spent a minute or two learning from his positions and how he handled himself in his preparation to become an elected official.

Phil Hemingway, the Republican running for the open seat, came fully prepared to answer questions at the forum and also used his experience as a School Board member to add to his expertise. In opposition to a raise for the county supervisors, Hemingway said he does his work for free on the School Board and believes that county supervisors are “more than amply compensated for their services.” Compared to Porter, he would vote against the suggestion if it came before him.

His blue-collar background and work in agriculture earned him a seat on the School Board. As a business owner, he has championed his experience with budgets and fiscal responsibility and has promised to bring both talents to the table if elected.

Just a few days ago, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.,  announced his support for Porter. If only national attention had focused on the Dec. 5 forum, the rest of America would have seen the dangers in tribalism and voting strictly along party lines.

Booker said if Porter were elected, she would be the first black person in Johnson County to win a county-wide office.

In the upcoming special election, we should focus on who will get the job done instead of an arbitrary check mark for Democrats to prove how diverse they are. It is extremely hard to believe that Porter, who will add no intellectual diversity to the board, is the better candidate for the position, given her performance last week.