IOWA CITY — The last Republican to win a Johnson County Board of Supervisors seat in a general election was in 1958 but the county GOP is hoping to change it this year.
Phil Hemingway, Iowa City school board member, was nominated as a Republican supervisor candidate during a convention Saturday morning. He’ll run against Pat Heiden and incumbent Janelle Rettig for two open seats on the board during the Nov. 6 general election.
“As a representative of whatever capacity you’re in, you have to represent everybody,” Hemingway said. “It’s kind of strange that we have been so one sided for so many years but I think we’re ready for diversity on our Board of Supervisors.”
Heiden and Rettig beat our incumbent Mike Carberry for the two Democratic nominations in June.
The five-member county Board of Supervisors has a number of different responsibilities including approving a budget, overseeing secondary road maintenance, and enter into contracts on behalf of the county, among others.
Hemingway, 58, has lived in Johnson County most of his life and worked in agriculture. He said because he’s lived in the area so long, he wants so focus on issues that he sees as preserving the county and its resources, such as supporting clean water and quality roads.
“I want to make sure it’s here for others after me and that we preserve it,” Hemingway said.
Advocating for mental health services, updating the Unified Development Ordinance and supporting area businesses are a some of Hemingway’s other platform issues.
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This year’s ballot won’t feature a straight-ticket voting option. Hemingway said he sees that as an advantage as a Republican running in Johnson County.
“I hope people just vote for the person and not for the party and look what all they have to offer,” Hemingway said. “I think it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.”
The nomination convention was part of the Johnson County Republicans campaign office, just off South Riverside Drive, opening celebration. As part of event, Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann and other area candidates like 2nd Congressional District hopeful Chris Peters spoke to those at the convention.
“This is real,” Kaufmann said, touting Hemingway’s 2015 school board victory. “Here in Johnson County, I think that’s a pretty big statement. This is real.”
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