Former head of IDPH announces congressional bid

When Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks announced her resignation as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, many speculated it was the first step in a run for Congress.

That speculation, it seems, was absolutely correct.

Miller-Meeks announced Sunday evening she would seek the Republican nomination in Iowa’s Second Congressional District in June. Campaign spokesman Eric Woolson said Miller-Meeks will kick off her campaign with a tour of cities in the district later this week.

She will appear from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Uncle Nancy’s Coffee Shop in downtown Newton. The “listening session” is intended for her to hear Iowans’ concerns and talking about her solutions to the challenges the U.S. faces.

Part of Miller-Meeks’ focus will be on rising healthcare costs and government accountability.

“Washington is a dysfunctional mess, and it’s time to send someone there who has real-world experience bringing people together to solve problems,” she said. “The Affordable Care Act has been anything but affordable and is jeopardizing our quality and access to healthcare. I see firsthand how this law is hurting our citizens and we need to send a doctor to Washington to fix it.”

Miller-Meeks is an ophthalmologist who served 24 years in the United States Army as both a nurse and physician. She was also the first woman on the faculty at the University of Iowa Department of Ophthalmology and the first woman president of the Iowa Medical Society.

“Working with Governor Branstad the past three years has given me an opportunity to see what can be accomplished when we put Iowans first and partisanship aside for the greater good,” she added. “Together, we were able to improve the quality of life for the people of this state. I want to bring that problem-solving, common-sense Iowa attitude to Congress. Let’s put Iowa in Washington.”

Miller-Meeks and her husband, Curt, live in Ottumwa. They have two grown sons, Jonathon and Taylor.

This is her third run for Congress. If elected, she would be the first Iowa woman elected to Congress.

Miller-Meeks currently faces two challengers in the GOP primary: State Rep. Mark Lofgren of Muscatine and Matthew C. Waldren of Eddyville. Iowa’s Second Congressional District is represented by Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa City.

Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com.