Miller-Meeks shares her history
Loebsack challenger holds town hall meeting in Burlington.
By CHRISTINIA CRIPPES
With the precision of an ophthalmologist, the logic of a U.S. Army master sergeant, and the stubbornness of a onetime teenager, Mariannette Miller-Meeks is making her case to take over as the Republican congressperson from this district.
Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa made a campaign stop at the Burlington Public Library Thursday to answer voters questions and open dialogue with district constituents.
"I would say that what I have the most faith in is myself, and in you, in the people, because we have the work ethic, talent, intellect and perseverance to do great things," she said. "We can build the bridge that heals division and distrust."
After sharing her history with the audience, Miller-Meeks said she got into the race because of her expertise in health care and her knowledge of economic issues.
"I just felt that our representative did not have the knowledge base for health care issues that would be coming down the road," she said.
Miller-Meeks is challenging Democratic freshman Rep. Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon.
She said in her private practice, she knows of the strife of maintaining a small business, as well as keeping a finger on the pulse of people's concerns by talking with patients.
Miller-Meeks said about three-quarters of people -- regardless of party -- want the same things.
"We want people to work. We want honest government. We want good policies," she said.
The candidate also took time to explain -- like someone with a master's degree in education -- the current financial crisis to the audience.
Using specific examples, Miller-Meeks explained the financial crisis started from a housing crisis enabled by a Democratic majority but was amplified by a lack of transparency put in place by Republicans.
"These are government policies that failed," she said. "My personal belief, I think government works better when its divided, because I think that puts checks into the system."
Miller-Meeks answered questions on Israel, illegal immigration and earmarks.
Unlike GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, Miller-Meeks said she is not opposed to earmarks -- because they help fund necessary infrastructure projects locally -- but there should be more transparency on where the money is headed.
She said both parties have contributed to the problem there, as well.
On Israel, she said the Middle Eastern nation has to stop building settlements and allow Palestine to become a state, with a shared capitol in Jerusalem if necessary. Miller-Meeks said that does not mean she does not support Israel.
On immigration, Miller-Meeks said comprehensive reform is needed, and because the laws have not been enforced, the country needs to have a plan for the 20 million illegal people living in the United States.
"If you think we can address this problem by rounding 20 million of them up and putting them on a bus to wherever, I respectfully disagree," Miller-Meeks said.