Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rettig endorsed by labor

I'm very thankful for the support of organized labor for my re-election. Collective bargaining helps secure safe workplaces, build the middle class and improve productivity.

I have been endorsed by eight labor bodies:

Iowa City Federation of Labor
AFSCME Council 61
Carpenter's Local 1260
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Building Trades Council
Hawkeye Labor Council AFL-CIO
IBEW Local 405
Iowa State Building and Construction Trades Council
Teamster's Local 238

Friday, October 26, 2018

Thinking about Kurt Friese, Kim and all of the Friese family.

Robin and I have known Kurt and Kim Friese  since they first opened Devotay. At the time, we owned a store down the street from the restaurant. The whole neighborhood came together and formed a business association called the Northside Martkeplace.

Kurt would often show his love for people and for organizations he cared about by cooking for them. Potlucks in the Board office were fun with Kurt around. Less than two weeks ago he cooked BBQ for all the Democrats and Presidential candidates. When I told him how good the BBQ was he said he loved doing it and wanted to make it an annual tradition.

Kurt and I shared a love of cycling and the Cubs. Every day he would keep me up to date on when pitchers and catchers report and what Cubs had done what. He had an app that had a countdown to the second on when spring training would start.

Kurt was smart and he was engaged in local, national and world issues. I never knew him to ever hear of a topic he didn't want to know more about. He researched everything and would often tell me about world happenings. Kurt cared about issues, but he cared about people more. He always wanted to help people. He was passionate about local foods, LGBTQ civil rights, cycling, conservation, mental health and so much more.

Kurt was the Captain of the County NAMI Walk team and he was working on a plan to have every Johnson County employee go through mental health first aid training. He said that knowing what others go through and how to respond would help every employee.

Kurt loved his wife and children with every soul of his being. He would show me pictures, tell me about Kim's travels for work and tell me about his children. I'm so very sorry for Kim and the kids. He also loved this really cute dog named Archie. I always loved when Archie stopped by the office. I can't even imagine what they are going through.

I know Kurt's family and friends local and across the country will be telling lots of great stories about Kurt. I'll just say, he was always kind to me and everyone I saw him with, he was passionate, he was an activist, he was thoughtful and smart. The County is devastated and in shock. We are going, I am going, to miss Kurt Friese. Please hold Kurt and his family in your light and know life is fragile. Please love deeply, care deeply, tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Free Medical Clinic: Raise the Roof

The Free Medical Clinic needs a new roof. Robin and I know what it is like to have bad health insurance with high deductibles and pre-existing condition riders, so we have always been supportive of the Free Medical Clinic. Free Med is now in its 47th year and a lot has changed since the hippie days. Now more and more clients are the working poor with chronic illness and no other access to affordable health and dental care. It would be great to have a country where health, mental health and dental care were equally accessible to all, but that is not where we are right now. Free Med needs us. You can help them get a new roof for $20, $20 will buy a new shingle. Let's raise the roof.
It is always a good night when we get to listen to Two Bit Maniac and Home Brewed. These bands are always helping charities and we love their music and spirit.
You can donate here:

Gazette Interview


Johnson County Hunger Summit Follow Up

There have been a lot of neat and much needed things happen since the County hosted the Hunger Summit. This is one of them:

Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition survey

Thank you to the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition for surveying the candidates for Johnson County Supervisor.

League of Woman Voter's Forum: Sanctuary county question

During the Johnson County Board of Supervisors candidates forum last week there were a number of interesting exchanges. Things like CAFOs and gender identity surgery and treatment are well worth listening.
I would like to draw attention to one question in particular: Do you support Johnson County being a sanctuary county?
Please feel free to share this link and the transcript or tag people that might be interested.
Minute 33:38
Do you support Johnson County being a sanctuary county?
Pat Heiden: I do support the stance that the county has taken as far as embracing the immigrant population and will also not be involved in voluntary detaining of immigrant or any type of raids that may take place in the county. It is incumbent upon us to really reach out in partnership with our immigrant communities and support them in any way we can. So if that means supporting a sanctuary city, then you bet it does.
Phil Hemmingway: I support immigrants. My wife is a first generation immigrant. My mother-in-law is here legally and has her citizenship. My brother-in-law, Danny, went through the legal process to become a citizen. It took him seven years, and he’s a doctor, to get in here legally. So this is a national issue that has to be addressed. I know first-hand what it is like to be working in a foreign country. This is my Social Security card from Belize. This is my driver’s license, unfortunately, it has expired. This is my Permanent Resident card which I obtained which allows me the ability to work there. So it is important that we follow the rule of law, but still we be welcoming to immigrants in our community.
Janelle Rettig: I don’t believe human beings are illegal no matter what. I believe human beings are human beings, and that immigration has made this a great country. Everyone in this country, forever, immigrated from somewhere. So I believe that the war on immigrants is shameful and I am not interested in being a county that participates in that. The county is not a sanctuary county. There’s actually not a definition of sanctuary county or city. You’re only a sanctuary county if you say you’re a sanctuary county. What we said is that we would not illegally detain people on an ICE request. And I say illegally because you are taking away their civil liberties. If someone is arrested for public intox or some other reason or is brought to the jail for a misdemeanor, holding them beyond the time we normally would should be illegal in this country and has been illegal by court rulings. I fully support the county not allowing our employees to participate with the ICE and not detaining people longer than they need to for whatever they were arrested for.