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Hawkeye - "Doctor Seeks Seat in Congress"

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Location: Ottumwa, IA

Hawkeye - "Doctor Seeks Seat in Congress"

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist, hopes to utilize her medical knowledge in a new way, as a U.S. representative.

Miller-Meeks announced Monday in Ottumwa she is seeking the Republican nomination for the District 2 congressional seat.

Prior to this run for the U.S. House of Representatives, Miller-Meeks said she has never been involved in politics.

"You get to a point where you're frustrated with the lack of progress in Congress," Miller-Meeks said.

Miller-Meeks said she sees Congress demoralize people under the guise of helping them. She said government should remove obstacles for people, to enhance their usefulness and build self-esteem.

"Government should be about attempting to unleash the potential of its citizens," she said.

Miller-Meeks, who comes from a military family, enlisted in the U.S. Army to help complete a bachelor's of science degree in nursing. She served in the Army and Army Reserves for 22 years.

Miller-Meeks said she has wanted to be a doctor since an experience when she was a teenager when both she and her brother had more than 12 percent of their bodies burned.

"It's one of those things, sometimes you think when the idea finally hits you, it was below the surface the whole time," Miller-Meeks said.

After receiving phenomenal treatment from physical therapists, Miller-Meeks said she knew she wanted to help people in the same way.

Miller-Meeks said she's concerned the current District 2 representative will help bring about a Canadian-style health-care system.

"Knowing what I know of other health systems, I think that would not be in the best interest of constituents of District 2 or the United States," Miller-Meeks said.

While the ophthalmologist will make health care a focal point of her campaign, Miller-Meeks wants to help bring about other changes in Congress.

Among them, she wants to change Social Security, the GI bill and veterans bills.

"I think we should be moving to a tax system that doesn't tax productivity," Miller-Meeks said.

She also wants to usher in a new industry of energy that is friendly to the environment, as she sees it as a way to ultimately benefit the nation's security.

Aside from health care, Miller-Meeks said her medical background will help her in the U.S. House in a number of ways.

She said her skills include multi-tasking, utilizing a great amount of knowledge, developing trust and moving forward in a way that best serves the interest of the people she's caring for.

"I think the same skills can be used in Congress," Miller-Meeks said. "I visited Washington twice a year for the past five years ... what I saw, it seemed to me, it came to the point in government that is is more important for one party or another to claim victory than it was to advance issues."

She said skills like finding a consensus and building trust can be used in Congress to get more accomplished.

Miller-Meeks and her husband, Curt, moved to Iowa in 1988, and with the exception of three years, have been here ever since. The couple has two children.

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