Johnson County Supervisor Jon Green calls for countywide equity and inclusive policymaking going forward

Green ran his campaign on the COVID-19 crisis and hopes to show Johnson County a new way of governing.


Jeff Sigmund

Johnson County Supervisor Candidate Jon Green stops for a portrait on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Emily Delgado, News Reporter

Jon Green, new Johnson County Supervisor, dedicates his success in both the recent election and his campaign strategy to the combination of volunteer work and his restoration message. His strategy won him 66.1 percent of the vote in the special election on June 8.

“We had a lot of excellent volunteers helping and I think that combined with our message helped turnout a lot of voters,” Green said.

Johnson County Democratic Chair Ed Cranston wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan that voter turnout in this special election was unique.

“Voters cast over 14,500 (14,711) ballots for county supervisor last Tuesday, and that’s almost unheard of here when it comes to specials: Jon’s race had the second-highest turnout in Johnson County special election history,” Cranston wrote.

Cranston wrote that the Johnson County Democrats felt elated after Green’s successful election.

“Jon ran an incredible campaign, and it’s clear that his platform resonated with our base. Democrats showed up to not only vote for him, but they also brought their family, their neighbors, and their friends along with them” Cranston wrote. “Our voters know that Jon will fight for our county’s progressive values in office, which is why they came out for him in record numbers.”

On April 22, Green announced his candidacy for Johnson County Supervisor. On June 8, he was elected, replacing Janelle Rettig, who resigned before her current term was over. She began working on the board in 2009.

Green ran his platform with a focus on COVID-19, stating in his candidacy statement, “Green is adamant that the $29 million due to Johnson County from the American Rescue Plan be distributed with a focus on equity and restoration.”

Green said he wanted the county to rethink its ideas of how the government should work as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.

“I think that we have an opportunity now to learn some of the lessons and hardships we have endured for the last 15 months, and to see a more effective government and to work for all of us,” Green said.

Green is the former mayor of Lone Tree and former editor for Lone Tree Reporter. He also worked as a reporter in Wyoming.

He said he chronicles his transition from journalism to politics after he was hired by Wyoming Democratic Gov. Dave Frudthenal as a press secretary.

RELATED: Democrat Jon Green wins supervisor seat in Johnson County special election

“My background in journalism I think helps … I covered public meetings over the years and what not, so just a familiarity and comfort with the way these systems work and understanding how important collaboration work is,” Green said.

Former Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry said he believes Green’s background in small-town politics will help his time as a Johnson County Supervisor.

“I’m very excited that he can represent those rural voices a lot more,” Carberry said.

Carberry was a volunteer on Green’s campaign. Prior to working on his campaign, Carberry worked with Green on the State Central Committee for the Iowa Democratic Party.

“I thought a great deal of him,” Carberry said. “I thought that we aligned very closely on our politics and the policies that we believed in and in government is good. It does good work for people, especially those people that need a hand up and not necessarily a handout.”

As supervisor, Green said he plans to form “a wise, equitable, sustainable foundation for going forward.”

Since his announcement for candidacy, Green has talked about a need for equity, and he plans to make sure all individuals from Johnson County are involved in policy making.

Green said he is aware of the lack of involvement by county government staff in the lower parts of Johnson County – a criticism he makes not just of the supervisors before him, but of himself, as well.

“We need to be proactive,” Green said. “That certainly has been a big part of what my candidacy has been about. You know, us taking control of our own destiny, but that also goes for other rural and unincorporated parts of the county, outside of the metro area –– of course, the metro area is important too.”

Green is aware of the ‘two-sided coin’ of having a Big Ten university like the University of Iowa in his county. He credits the UI for being one of the reasons why there are positive changes happening in the county.

Green said he has heard people in the county focus only on the negative side of having a university in town.

“I hope that we can certainly work with the university to ensure students have a good experience here,” Green said. “I want to be accessible to students and in a position where we can work together.”

Green added that the people of Johnson County are able to reach out to him at any time.

“We’re not always going to agree, but I do look forward to working together and working for every resident in the county,” Green said.

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