Name: Phil Hemingway
Residence: Iowa City
Education: High school graduate; some college, ASE certified master technician and certified engine machinist
What are the three most important issues in Johnson County, and how would you address them?
• Mental health: Meeting the ever-expanding needs for mental health services in Johnson County by Increasing Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Services, Expanding the Mental Health Workforce, Education, and Expanding physical space.
• Maintaining existing infrastructure: roads and bridges; we must make sure existing infrastructure is properly maintained and not neglected. Rural roads are crucial to agriculture and our outlying communities.
• Improving the county’s relationship with staff and the community by working cooperatively and respectfully with everyone. People who navigate the county system must have a clear road map, no surprises.
What issues would you like to see the board push for in the coming two to four years?
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A change in how the county deals with taxpayers, residents and staff. We have to start treating community members and staff with the respect and dignity they deserve.
Linn County has reduced its Board of Supervisors from five to three, each representing a county district. Do you think Johnson County should reduce the size of the Board of Supervisors? Why or why not?
It is a conversation worth having and an issue that needs to be discussed with the public. Any decision on that matter should be made by the public. Definitely the board in Johnson County needs greater rural representation and participation.
Currently, all of Johnson County’s elected offices are filled with Democrats. Are constituents with more conservative views given any say in how the county is run?
Outside of a special election, which occurred during a blizzard, Johnson County Board of Supervisors has been ruled by one party for 60 years. It is up to the voters of Johnson County to answer your question concerning “are (their) views given any say in how the county is run,” and that’s why I am a candidate for this office.
How well does county government work with city governments within the county? Are there efficiencies that can be achieved with intergovernmental agreements?
As an ICCSD board member, we meet routinely with county and local city governments to discuss issues. All candidates that run talk about wanting to be more cooperative and to do more but in reality, many opportunities are missed and more can be done. We have to recognize that all municipality budgets are tight and demands for greater and newer facilities and services will constantly put pressure. This reality should push all groups to work with one another to pool resources whenever possible.
Should the county push the envelope with state matters or with multi-jurisdictional issues? When should the county work with other entities and when should the county go its own way?
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The county needs to concentrate on running the county, not running the state. We have enough issues facing our taxpayers and residents without working on issues which we have no control over. Nothing stops supervisors from advocating their views, but county business should be our top priority.
If you’re forced to cut the county budget, where do you look for savings? Why?
We should always be looking for savings not only when we are in a tight budgetary situation. Every opportunity to run the county leaner and more efficiently should be looked at; not just when we are in a tight budget cycle.
Do you think the county should increase spending on rural road maintenance?
Yes, of course. Existing infrastructure — that’s what I stated earlier. Before you build new, make sure existing roads and bridges are maintained properly.
Would you favor the regionalization of some services? If so, which ones?
I think this is a discussion worth having where services could be provided better or more efficiently but at this present time I have no examples to share and would be interested in looking at ideas and suggestions of others.
How would you communicate with your constituents?
I believe I am the only elected official in Johnson County that holds weekly gatherings with community members; since I was elected to the ICCSD board of education, I have held community gatherings every Friday at my shop to discuss community issues. I would continue this and look to expand it when elected to the Board of Supervisors. Of course, we all receive emails as a form of communication and, me personally, phone calls and face to face conversations are always welcome.