Mike Carberry of Iowa City filed for re-election to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors before last week’s filing deadline.
First elected in 2014, Carberry will face incumbent supervisor Janelle Rettig and Democratic Central Committee member Pat Heiden in the June 5 primary election for two board seats.
Well known in the local, progressive ecosystem, Carberry worked as an environmental lobbyist before his election to the board. As a county supervisor he seeks to apply his talents to local issues from a sustainable perspective — environmentally, economically and with social justice, according to his website.
“I’ve called Iowa City home since 1976,” Carberry said in an interview. “It’s the greatest place to live in the Midwest, but also the most expensive in Iowa. Fighting poverty is a big umbrella under which I’ve done really good work.”
Carberry voted to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour in Johnson County shortly after his first election. During his tenure on the board, the county budgeted about $2 million for the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, initiated projects to relieve food insecurity including activities at the former Johnson County Poor Farm, and has identified a need to create a better transportation structure to serve the working poor, he said.
“I want to do everything I can to help fight the war on poverty in Johnson County and hopefully across the state,” Carberry told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “Hopefully, we can be a leader.”
An important part of the board’s recent work has been the Johnson County Comprehensive Plan.
“The comprehensive plan contains policy goals for many aspects of the community; including, for example, land use, transportation, housing, parks and open space, infrastructure, facilities and economic development,” according to the Johnson County website. Carberry provided an update on the plan’s progress.
He expects the county Planning and Zoning Commission to evaluate and discuss the comprehensive plan at their April 5 working session. Then, on Monday, April 9, the commission will discuss the proposed plan and potentially make a recommendation to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.
Carberry hopes for an up or down vote on April 9, he said. If they do not approve the plan, he expects the commission to recommend changes. Once the supervisors have a response from Planning and Zoning, they will hold a work session, an informal meeting, and then a formal meeting on the plan.
Carberry said he did not get everything he wanted in the comprehensive plan, attributing that to the political process of compromise. His main interests are addressing urban sprawl, creating smart growth, and encouraging growth from the city limits outward through policy.
“I hope the supervisors’ work on the Comprehensive Plan is finished by the end of April,” he said.
Carberry has weighed in on a host of issues since he first ran for the board of supervisors.
“We’re not done yet,” Carberry said. “We want to continue to make Johnson County the best in the Midwest, and one of the ways to do that is to keep fighting. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Editor’s Note: The author has endorsed Janelle Rettig for Johnson County Supervisor in the June 5 primary.