A Democrat Making a Difference

Mike Carberry is a Democrat who is making a difference in his first term as Johnson County Supervisor. That's why he's continuing to add endorsements. Mike’s election as a Supervisor in November 2014 broke a legislative logjam on the Board of Supervisors and he has cast the deciding votes that allowed progress on issues that had stalled for years. Mike’s vote allowed the County Minimum Wage Ordinance to pass. Mike’s votes helped stop urban sprawl. Mike’s vote allowed the County to start issuing Community ID Cards. And Mike’s vote led to a Sensitive Areas Ordinance that applied to all subdivisions.

Mike is a fighter for Justice.  Not every Supervisor in Johnson County has historically voted as a Progressive. Not every candidate for Supervisor supported the Democratic Party platform, even if they are registered as a Democrat.

Mike has always been a Democrat and he is seeking a second term as County Supervisor to continue to make the Democratic difference. He is up to speed on the process and the issues before the Board, and wants to use that experience to improve Johnson County, fighting for Economic, Social, Environmental and racial JUSTICE.




Approved Johnson County Minimum Wage

Mike was the deciding vote in favor of proceeding with the Minimum Wage Ordinance in 2015 which raised the wage to $10.10 per hour in three steps. After the Republicans in the State Legislature took away Home Rule, Mike has supported the Center for Worker Justice and others who have gained pledges from more than 150 Johnson County businesses to continue paying the $10.10 wage. The Supervisors will recommend a 2018 raise from $10.10 to about $10.35 per hour to index the wage to inflation as the original ordinance proposed. Mike has been a leader in the Fight For $15 campaign, joining state and national leaders to create a Livable Wage. Mike joins them in the goal to set a state and national $15 per hour minimum wage.




Expands Affordable Housing

Mike has voted to invest almost $2 million in new affordable housing in Johnson County.

Approves Community ID Card

Mike was the decisive vote to create the Community ID card.

The card expands the ability of immigrants and other newcomers to establish themselves and be included in community activities.

The card increases community security by allowing carriers to be more secure in reporting law enforcement incidents and fostering better interactions with government officials.

Supports Welcoming County

Mike endorses Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek’s declaration that Sheriff’s officers will not seek information from residents about their immigration status or hold people in jail for federal Immigration requests. County Sheriff officials will cooperate with ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials) only under court order. Immigration policy enforcement is a federal government concern. This pledge allows immigrants and others fearful of federal officials to cooperate with local public safety officers without concern for retaliation on themselves or their neighbors.

Increase and Improve Mental Health Services

The harmful Republican actions of closing state facilities and adoption of private Medicaid providers has led Iowa to be last in the U.S. in mental health beds per capita.  Mike has supported County efforts to improve and increase local delivery of mental health services.

Supports Mobile Crisis Intervention Training

This mental health emergency response team stabilizes people in need and encourages them to go to a treatment facility. This is cost effective as many people in mental health emergencies are instead taken to jail or to an emergency room, the two most expensive places to treat people. This also allows public safety officers to return to their routine patrols quickly, which enhances efficiency.

Supports Building Access Center

Mike supports building the County’s Behavioral Health Access Center project that will quickly provide mental health treatment services to citizens. He voted for the Crisis Intervention Training that has trained over 150 county wide public safety personnel in alcohol and mental health triage. CIT diverts citizens from emergency rooms or jails (both costly and inefficient treatment centers) to gain quick, lower cost, and effective treatment.

Mike also supports the County’s promotion of Mental Health First Aid and educational programs in schools and the community.

Supports Aging Services

Johnson County has hired an Aging Specialist to serve as a resource for the growing population of older adults in the County.

The position is new in Johnson County, where persons 65 and older is the fastest growing demographic.

The Aging Specialist will provide outreach, information, education and referral services to older adults, family members, service providers and organizations, and caregivers.  The Specialist will assist individuals and family members with navigating social and community services, and will develop and implement plans that identify and meet the needs of older adults in the County.




Protect Agricultural Land from Residential Growth

Mike led the adoption of the Future Land Use Map in the new County Comprehensive Plan which eliminated thousands of acres of residential zoning preference in the North Corridor Development Area. Thousands of agricultural acres are now further protected from residential development. There are still areas designated for potential residential zoning in the new map beyond the two mile Fringe Areas around cities that Mike believes are too far from cities to be responsible growth.

Protect Natural Areas

The new Future Land Use Map designates significant areas of the county as Preservation Areas. This severely limits residential building and saves additional land for environmental preservation.

Promote Smart Growth

Mike will continue to advocate that residential zoning should be kept adjacent to cities, and within the two-mile Fringe Areas surrounding cities. We can promote additional infill development in towns. Our cities should grow outward from their core into the county; not haphazardly from rural areas toward cities. This allows city services to be extended as cities grow.

Hired Local Foods Coordinator

Mike helped add a new County employee to oversee county and area programs for small food producers.

Started Plan for County Food Hub

Under Mike’s leadership, the County is progressing with the opening of a building for small farmers to bring their products, and creating a central vendor to market their products.

Opposed Efforts to Eliminate the Food Policy Council

Mike has continued his support, amid opposition, of this important central policy board for local producers. The Council performs vital work to advise the county in promoting production and marketing of food.

New Farmer Incubator Plots and Homes at the Historic    Johnson County Poor Farm

            Mike has led efforts to help small farmers get established as producers at the County Poor Farm. This program will allow farmers to live on the land they farm.  

  •             Building new affordable housing units
  •             Creating new farmer incubator plots and housing
  •             Stabilize buildings and cemetery for historic preservation and education
  •             Increase trails, recreation, and prairie restoration
  •             County continues to oversee community groups growing food for those in need

Expands Renewable Energy and Sustainability

  • Solar panels are now on 5 County buildings
  • Mike is leading Solarize Johnson County, a program to let County residents purchase residential solar panels at discounted group rates.
  • The County vehicle fleet is increasingly green with hybrid and electric cars
  • Mike and the Board insisted on a LEED standard for constructing the Ambulance and Medical Examiner building, Secondary Roads building, and future buildings.
  • Supports various sustainability projects
  • Mike and the Board committed the County to locally maintain the standards of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
  • Sustainability grants for non-profits
  • Sensitive Areas Ordinance implemented for all residential development
  • Mike continues to support efforts to explore alternative transportation alternatives such as expanded bus routes, restoring the CRANDIC line, and commuter rail.

Leads County Conservation and Trails Expansion

  • Supports expanded trails and prairies at Historic County Poor Farm
  • Mike is the leading advocate for expanding Bicycle Trail connections—Mehaffey Bridge, Clear Creek, and Hoover Trails.
  • Supports continued purchase of land with the County Conservation Bonds to protect areas such as Ciha Fen and Pechman Creek Delta. Purchasing these areas enhances water quality improvement and preserves them for residents to enjoy.

Clean Water Leader

Mike led the Supervisors to join other counties to tighten the Master Matrix regulations to restrict the expansion of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). In one action, the Supervisors supported a moratorium on additional CAFOs until the Matrix is tightened, and in another action, supported a moratorium on new CAFOs until less than 100 Iowa waterways are declared impaired.

Mike testified twice before the state Environmental Protection Commission about closing loopholes in the Master Matrix and manure discharge plans. Mike continues his longtime work with state groups to convince the Iowa Legislature to make water quality a top priority.



Working to decrease Disproportionate Minority Contact

Disproportionate Minority Contact, often called simply "DMC," has seen some improvements under Mike's leadership as a member of the county DMC committee.  But Mike knows that even despite the relatively low percentage of African-Americans in Iowa, city and county officials across the state have arrested black citizens at a rate 10 times that of whites.  There is always room for improving the ties between law enforcement and the community.

Stepping up community policing, fighting hate crimes - Improving community engagement at all levels takes time, and it takes buy-in from everyone involved.   Everyone needs "skin in the game."  Law enforcement, private citizens, and elected officials all must play a role in furthering cooperation and improving communication.  


Mike is a member of the board of the local branch of the NAACP.

State Progressive Issues Leader

Mike continues to volunteer his previous experience as an environmental advocate and lobbyist by regularly going to Des Moines to present a progressive viewpoint to state decision makers on County issues that are addressed at the state level. Mike lobbies on behalf of Johnson County to restore collective bargaining rights for public employees, to restore local control of the County Minimum Wage Ordinance, to reverse the privatization of Medicaid, and funding for backfill money from the 2013 commercial property tax reduction. 

He has also used this experience to advocate on the federal level in Washington, DC for a federal minimum wage and the extension of federal wind and solar tax credits.

Mike continues to lobby for environmental programs, water quality, and solar and wind energy tax credits in Des Moines, and has extensive contacts with state leaders on a variety of issues that he continues to use to promote concerns that benefit Johnson County.


Always a Democrat

Mike has always been a registered Democrat and has been elected to leadership positions in the local party as Precinct Chair and Johnson County Chair. He presently serves on the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee.