Mariannette Miller-Meeks states claim for Second Congressional District in one on one interview

Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Mariannette Miller-Meeks(Courtesy Photo)
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 6:27 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - We are highlighting the race for the Second Congressional District today and tomorrow. That district covers Southeast Iowa, including Iowa City, Davenport and Ottumwa. Democrat Rita Hart, and Republican Mariannette MIller-Meeks are looking to replace Dave Loebsack, who is retiring. Miller-Meeks is our focus Thursday.

Miller-Meeks is a state senator and an ophthalmologist out of Ottumwa. She ran for this seat three times, losing to Congressman Loebsack all three times. She says her patients and peers talked her into running again.

Miller-Meeks likes to start her mornings with a walk along the Des Moines River. “We need to incentivize healthy behaviors,” We’re out here walking on the trails today, trying to get our 10,000 steps. We’re doing that because it’s good to be outdoors, it’s good to get sun exposure for Vitamin D."

Healthcare is a reason why she got into politics. Miller-Meeks was a nurse and a physician in the army. TV-9 put a mask on and joined her for her morning walk to where she tells me she wants everybody to have affordable health care and insurance with low a premium cost, but she doesn’t think Medicare For All.

“The cost for Medicare For all was (Senator) Elizabeth Warren’s Plan,” she said. “Was estimated at 52 trillion dollars over 10 years and other plans at 32 trillion dollars. So what in our budget, how do we fund that and what in our budget do we do. So we know that Medicare for all in a system like that leads to rationing of care. Less care, less research and development, and as I said, closing of 52 critical access or rural hospitals.” She adds that some of those hospitals would be in her district.

Miller-Meeks says she’s taking the Coronavirus Pandemic seriously. Wearing a mask and social distancing. She supported the initial lockdown during the pandemic, now she thinks we need to find a balance.

“This was never about life vs the economy, this is about life vs life,” she said. “Everybody has suffered through this pandemic. There are those who have lost loved ones, but there are also those who have lost loved ones to suicides, to other cardiovascular events because they didn’t get needed healthcare. There are people who have committed suicide because they had to euthanize their herd. There are people who have lost businesses.”

Miller-Meeks says she supports police reform and people peacefully protesting. She calls the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police Officer disgusting. She highlights the work the Iowa Senate has done since then: banning chokeholds, stopping police departments from transferring officers to avoid discipline, and implicit bias training. Miller-Meeks doesn’t support defunding the police.

“All of us want to have safe schools, safe communities and safe neighborhoods, and even in low income minority areas, having that police presence is important, but we know we can do more,” she said. “We know we want to have a civil society where we all work together. So as we continue to face the challenges of hate, we don’t want to race towards hatred.”

As far as education, Miller-Meeks wants to see more of an emphasis on the skilled trades. “We had a push now towards four year degrees and we’ve left some of us behind,” she said. “Left some behind that work better with their hands. I think re-introducing trades, vocational education in schools.”

Miller-Meeks feels her resiliency and her passion for helping others is why she’s the better choice for the second congressional district.

“I’ve done that in my volunteer work when I drove two hours to volunteer in a free medical clinic” she said. “I did free Lasik for soldiers deploying in Iraq. I’ve done free vision screenings for children, free glaucoma screenings for adults. I have a life of service both in the military and my volunteer work. What I’ve done in the military, I will continue to serve. Be at the state level or the federal level. I will continue to fight for Iowans.”

Miller-Meeks says she learned to be more accessible from her previous campaigns that she lost to Loebsack.

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