US Ag Secretary says Johans name well-known in home area

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns met up with GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in the parking lot of the Lincolnway Energy ethanol plant near Ames on Thursday afternoon.  Johanns is an Iowa native and Nussle asked if he gets back up to the Osage area to visit relatives.  Johanns, who has a sister still living in Iowa, says he gets back infrequently.  Then, Johanns launched into this story:

"I stopped in a conveninence store and bought a pop or something and I didn’t have any cash.  All I had was a Nebraska check from a Lincoln, Nebraska bank."  (Johans was Nebraska’s governor before being appointed US Ag Secretary by President Bush.)   "So, I said to this this young kid there — you know they always hire young kids — I said ‘Would you take a check from Lincoln, Nebraska?’  He said, "Can I see it?’ and I showed it to him and he said ‘I’m related to you, of course I’ll take your check." (Nussle and others standing in the parking lot laughed)  "He was like a second cousin or something."

Nussle and Johans chatted about his race, and then when Johans walked over to me, I asked him about his "pretty funny" story.

"In Osage, you would see tons of Johanses," Johans said.  "A very common name up there.  A good sized family, you know, so there are cousins I haven’t met, I’m sure."

Running "Johanns" and "Osage, IA" through a search finds nine telephone listings.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.