IOWA CITY – Two Johnson County men will take a nontraditional route in trying to be elected county supervisors.
John Etheredge of Kalona and David Kimm Fesler of Coralville filed paperwork Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, for the Nov. 6 election, county Auditor Tom Slockett said.
Each was nominated by petition, which required collecting 250 signatures. Etheredge turned in 294 signatures and Fesler 277, Slockett said. The deadline to file was Wednesday.
Etheredge is a registered Republican and Fesler a registered Democrat. But they will appear on the ballot as “nominated by petition” and not as party candidates.
Three of the five seats on the Board of Supervisors are up for election. Incumbents Rod Sullivan, Pat Harney and Terrence Neuzil, all Democrats, are seeking re-election. Those three were the only candidates of any party who ran in the June primary election.
The last person elected a Johnson County supervisor after being nominated by petition was Don Sehr, a Democrat who won a 1994 special election.
Fesler, 61, said he doesn’t consider himself a politician and will “foster cooperation” if elected. He identifies as a Democrat after growing up in the 1960s when brothers John and Robert Kennedy were stars of the party.
Fesler said he has a law enforcement background and believes that some of the early struggles involving the county’s joint emergency communications center need to be resolved. He also questioned the cost and need of a proposed justice center for Johnson County and said the project should be tabled and studied more.
Voters will decide Nov. 6 election whether to approve a $46.8 million bond issue to pay for the justice center.
Etheredge, who works in retail, said he decided to run after talking with small-business owners and rural residents who said they were frustrated with county government. His family has first-hand experience with that, with the Board of Supervisors in 2001 denying plans from his dad, Rick Etheredge, to open an ice cream business at their home.
“I’m not a huge fan of the broad powers the Johnson County supervisors have in terms of where a business can go,” Etheredge said.
He said that although he is registered Republican, he’s not a strict follower of any one political party. He said he believes in “common-sense government,” individual responsibility, property rights and freedom of speech.