Miller-Meeks Hopes to Share Vision
By CHRISTINIA CRIPPES
Working in private practice for more than a decade helping people with their eyesight, 2nd District Republican challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks is ready to help with a new kind of vision.
"You need to speak loudly. You need to be vociferous. You need to be willing to challenge your leadership, be they of your party or the opposite party," the Ottumwa ophthalmologist said. "It goes back to the old saying, but it's so true: You have to do the right thing."
For Miller-Meeks that means representing the voters by advocating for a second disaster relief bill.
Congress worked to pass the supplemental package before its August recess but did not do so. Iowa's U.S. senators and 2nd District Rep. Dave Loebsack, a Democrat, have said it will get passed once Congress returns to Washington, D.C., in September.
"Quite honestly, I don't think I would have ever left Congress. I don't think I would have recessed," Miller-Meeks said. "They (the people) have circumstances far beyond their control, and they have paid for recovery in Katrina; they've paid for recovery in Florida; they've paid for recovery in New York, but here we're left lacking."
Loebsack said previously he twice voted against adjournment for the August recess because the House had not considered a flood relief package.
Miller-Meeks traveled with 5th District Republican Steve King to Burlington Monday to meet with area businesses and hold a fundraiser. King said he opted to campaign with Miller-Meeks because he needs reinforcement in Congress.
"The committee chairs used to be in the hands of people that represented middle America; now it's in the hands of people that represent the left coast, the right coast and the inner city," King said. "They have a whole different set of values than we have in the Midwest."
King said the House leadership is not what voters expected when they turned out in 2006 to elect a Democratic majority, especially in District 2 where Loebsack ousted longtime GOP Rep. Jim Leach.
"I think there's a fair amount of buyer's remorse, and now we'll find out whether there is or there isn't," King said. "I don't presume to know what's best for the district, but I recognize leadership when I see it, and I recognize true grit, and I see what animates her (Miller-Meeks) and it's the thing that ought to animate a member of Congress."
King also said Miller-Meeks' health-care expertise could not come at a better time for Congress.The pair also share a philosophy of constitutional conservatism and both focus on issues like transportation needs, energy policy and national security.
"It's helpful to have someone who has knowledge of what's going on within Congress at a particular point in time, when you're on the outside looking in," Miller-Meeks said.
Miller-Meeks, a 24-year veteran of the Air Force, also will make taking care of veterans' medical, rehabilitative and psychiatric needs a top priority, along with Social Security.
"Like any small business, I pay overhead and I pay staff; that's a little bit of a limiting factor when you're running for Congress, but the flip side of that coin is I think people see me as more real," Miller-Meeks said. "I'm out there trying to do the same thing they're trying to do in supporting their families and putting food on the table and gasoline in my tank, which is getting harder to do."