Johnson County Supervisor incumbents win primary election

Incumbent Johnson County Supervisors Green-Douglass, Porter, and Sullivan won the Democratic nomination for the three vacant seats on the county board in Tuesday’s primary election.


Emily Wangen

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors meets on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. The Supervisors discussed budget items for the year.

Riley Davis, News Reporter

Incumbent Johnson County Supervisors Lisa Green-Douglass, Royceann Porter, and Rod Sullivan won the primary election nomination for the Democratic ballot Tuesday night.

As of press time, Green-Douglass received the most votes with a total of 18,875 while Porter received 16,961 and Sullivan won the third nomination with 15,923 total votes. The remaining candidate on the Democratic ballot, North Liberty resident Dean Phinney, lost in the primary with a total of 6,989 votes.

Green-Douglass said she was thankful to those that voted for her and wished to congratulate the other incumbent supervisors on their win.

“I’m excited,” she said. “I think we work together well as a team and we work hard together — we do the work and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do coming forward. We’ve got a lot ahead of us.”

Johnson County Board of Supervisor Chairwoman Lisa Green-Douglass votes on the second reading of the Unified Development Ordinance at the Johnson County Treasurer office on Thursday December 12, 2019. (Megan Nagorzanski)

Sullivan said the primary election felt small in comparison to other issues currently facing the world such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the-novel coronavirus pandemic. He hopes that he can help to make things better, Sullivan said.

RELATED: Johnson County Supervisors Green-Douglass, Porter, Sullivan file for reelection candidacy

“It’s an honor to know that people have faith in you and trust you and believe you can do the job for them,” he said. “And so, I take that very seriously.”

Porter was unavailable for comment after the primary election.

The trio filed affidavits of candidacy March 4, indicating to the county their intent to run for reelection on the Democratic ballot in Tuesday’s primary, as previously reported by The Daily Iowan.

Green-Douglass, 61, was elected in January 2016 and completed the term that was vacated by former Supervisor Terrence Neuzil. She was reelected in November 2016. According to the Johnson County website, Green-Douglass has lived in Johnson County since 1980 and received a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Iowa.

Johnson County Supervisor Royceann Porter leads a discussion with former Iowa City City Councilor Rockne Cole following a screening of Still Rising: Celebrating 10 Years of the Iowa City Civil Rights Trip on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at the Iowa City Public Library. The civil rights trip is for local students to visit various historical sites from the Civil Rights Movement as well as Historically Black College and Universities. (Emily Wangen)

Her areas of advocacy include improving the availability and quality of mental health care, a more sustainable and equitable funding mechanism for such care, and the Access Center — a safe-space facility for individuals in a mental-health crisis, according to the county website. Prior to her election as a supervisor, Green-Douglass worked as a Spanish-language trainer to provide language training to law enforcement officers, jailers and correctional officers, conservation officers, nurses, teachers, and paramedics, the website said.

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Porter was initially elected in December 2018, becoming the first black woman elected to a county-wide office in Johnson County. She won in a special election to fill the vacant position of former Supervisor Kurt Friese after his death.

According to the Johnson County website, Porter has advocated for mental-health services, affordable housing, veterans’ services, workers’ rights, restorative justice, and opportunities for youth. She has a degree in social work from Kirkwood Community College and was a project organizer for the Teamsters Union — a labor union in the U.S and Canada representing blue collar and professional workers in the public and private sectors — prior to being a supervisor, the website said.

Johnson County Supervisor Chairperson Rod Sullivan listens to a presentation during a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2020.

Chair Supervisor Sullivan, 53, was initially elected in 2004 and served on the board through the 2008 flood. According to the Johnson County website, he has been an active volunteer for eight separate organizations in the county, including the emergency homeless shelter, United Way, and Community Foundation of Johnson County.

The website said he received a bachelor’s degree from the UI and worked with the Department of Human Services and as Executive Director of the Arc of Johnson County prior to being elected to the board. Sullivan has voted to pass several ordinances for human rights, stormwater management, and minimum wage, according to the website.

Phinney, 62, announced in late April he would join the running on the Democratic ballot against the incumbent supervisors for one of three open seats on the board.

RELATED: Johnson County Board of Supervisors extend building closures

The board of supervisors is currently holding virtual work sessions and formal meetings to allow for public participation while the county buildings, with the exception of the Johnson County Courthouse, remain closed due to concerns about COVID-19 spread. The meetings also include time for public and county departments’ comments on COVID-19-related topics.

There were no candidates filed in the Republican primary, so the three incumbents are the likely winners of the Nov. 3 general election.