116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — A year and a half before her term expires, Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig announced in an email Sunday she has resigned from the five-member board so she can focus on her health.
Rettig was appointed to the board in 2009 and has won reelection since, most recently in 2018. Her current term is set to expire at the end of 2022.
“I've known I wouldn't be running for reelection for years, but with a lot of thought and discussion over the last year, I decided it was best to move on as soon as the COVID disaster was concluding. While the overall pandemic is certainly not over, the local Emergency Operations Center concluded last week. If people stay vigilant and get vaccinated, we can quickly regain some normalcy,” Rettig wrote in the message.
“As you may know, for a long time I have had headaches and aches originally caused by Lyme disease. It's time to try to focus on reducing stress and pain.”
Rettig, who has lived in Johnson County since 1989, is a former schoolteacher who worked on the staffs of elected officials and owned a retail store in Iowa City. She has championed a number of causes including addressing poverty — including food insecurity and housing needs — and human rights. She was awarded the Stonewall Human Rights Award in 1997 and the Rick Graf Human Rights Award in 2007.
In 2015, she voted with other Johnson County supervisors to phase in minimum wage increases in the county — making Johnson the first of several Iowa counties, including Linn County, to ratchet up each year the state and federal wage threshold from $7.25 an hour.
However, in 2017, the Iowa Legislature and then-Gov. Terry Branstad prohibited local governments from setting minimum pay and reversed the wage floors.
Rettig’s resignation leaves four other Democrats on the county board. It was not clear Sunday how the vacancy will be filled, by appointment or special election. Johnson County supervisors earn about $80,000 a year.
“This is a very extraordinary County. Thank you for your partnership and work in making this place an oasis,” Rettig wrote in her farewell message. “I will be cheering Johnson County and our great cities on for the island of hope they are in an ever concerning and extremist Iowa.”