Miller-Meeks, Klein speak at GOP barbecue
By Samantha Miller
Attendees of the Johnson County Republican Party Barbecue went crazy as the female politician made her way to the podium Sunday afternoon.
They cheered and chanted her name like a rock star as she began to tell the audience of about 70 people at the Johnson County Fairgrounds how she planned to shake things up in Washington if she is elected Tuesday.
No, this wasn't vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin though one wouldn't know it by the group's enthusiastic reaction.
U.S. House District 2 hopeful Mariannette Miller-Meeks elicited the fervent chants from the crowd, both upon her entrance and exit from the podium.
Miller-Meeks, 53, of Ottumwa, is challenging Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack of Mount Vernon.
She said the most important issues to her this election cycle are health care, Social Security, energy, and veterans' benefits.
Miller-Meeks also highlighted how she's never been a politician, but is instead a "self-starter" who put herself through medical school and worked as a military nurse on her path to becoming an ophthalmologist and now congres sional nominee.
"It's going to be the Republicans who send the first women in Iowa to Congress," she said, referring to Iowa's history of never electing a woman to the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate.
Jared Klein, Iowa House District 89 hopeful, spoke to the crowd after Miller-Meeks, joking that her speech was "a tough act to follow." Klein, 27, of Keota, spent most of his time addressing the crowd by criticizing his opponent, Democrat Larry Marek, for the negative campaigning against Klein.
Bill Keettel, Johnson County Republicans chairman, said he saw a lot of potential in the newcomer, Klein.
"I think the Klein family will have a great future in Iowa starting Tuesday," Keettel said. "I could see him as a House speaker one day."