Miller-Meeks touts trade deal support, reducing health-care costs in race for open Congressional seat

A new contender announced her candidacy for Republican nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race on Monday.

Senator+Mariannette+Miller-Meeks+speaks+with+a+member+of+UISG+during+the+Hawkeye+Caucus+at+the+State+Capitol+in+Des+Moines+on+April+9%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeye+Caucus+provides+members+of+the+University+of+Iowa+community+to+come+speak+with+Iowa+legislators.+
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Miller-Meeks touts trade deal support, reducing health-care costs in race for open Congressional seat

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks with a member of UISG during the Hawkeye Caucus at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 9, 2019. The Hawkeye Caucus provides members of the University of Iowa community to come speak with Iowa legislators.

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks with a member of UISG during the Hawkeye Caucus at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 9, 2019. The Hawkeye Caucus provides members of the University of Iowa community to come speak with Iowa legislators.

Katie Goodale

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks with a member of UISG during the Hawkeye Caucus at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 9, 2019. The Hawkeye Caucus provides members of the University of Iowa community to come speak with Iowa legislators.

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks speaks with a member of UISG during the Hawkeye Caucus at the State Capitol in Des Moines on April 9, 2019. The Hawkeye Caucus provides members of the University of Iowa community to come speak with Iowa legislators.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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After announcing her bid for a seat in Congress, Iowa Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks said she would prioritize passing USMCA and reducing costs of prescription drugs and health care in her run for office. 

Miller-Meeks, a Republican from Ottumwa announced Monday she’ll run for the Republican nomination for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, an open race since current seat-holder Democrat Dave Loebsack’s announcement that he won’t be seeking re-election. 

She’ll join former Illinois Congressman Bobby Schilling in the race for the Republican nomination.

The United States Mexico Canada Agreement is a trade negotiation between the three North American nations that is currently waiting passage by Congress and Canada’s legislative branch.

“The passage of USMCA, which is right now lingering in the House, waiting for passage, is something that would help America but would especially help Iowa,” Miller-Meeks said.

2020 will mark Miller-Meeks fourth time running for the Congressional seat. She ran in 2008, 2010, and won the Republican nomination in 2014 to face Loebsack.

In the runup to her campaign announcement Monday, she said she’s visited with all 24 counties’ Republican parties, going to committee meetings, and visiting with constituents.

She said she believed her added experience working the state Senate and running in elections before would give her new leverage in her campaign. Miller-Meeks was first elected to Iowa Senate District 41 in November, 2018.

“I think just having experienced running a campaign, knowing what’s required, having a donor base, and then having had a successful run for the State Senate in an open seat environment, I think changes the dynamics,” she said.

She said she’ll continue working as a senator for the 2020 legislative session. Miller-Meeks won’t be up for re-election to the state senate until 2022. 

Miller-Meeks touted state-level accomplishments during the last legislative session such as helping with efforts to make prescription drug pricing more transparent and laying groundwork for a children’s mental-health system. 

In a phone interview with The Daily Iowan, she said she supported protecting pre-existing conditions, keeping kids on their parents’ health insurance policies until age 26, and allowing Americans to choose private health insurance, but that health-care policy needed to address rising premium costs. 

With the University of Iowa in the 2nd District, she said she would appeal to students and the university community by favoring strong economic policy, rather than eliminating tuition.

“Like any other young student wants to know — what’s going to be the economic outlook for them after they spend time and effort and money in getting a degree?” she said.

Rita Hart is running for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District, and has earned the support of several Democratic activists and leaders. She’s raised $268,000 according to June FEC filings.

The Iowa Democratic Party weighed in Monday on Miller-Meeks’ announcement. 

“Iowans rejected Mariannette Miller Meeks in 2008. They rejected her in 2010. They rejected her in 2014,” the statement read. “…Hardworking Iowa families can’t afford afford to take a gamble on Miller-Meeks’ dangerous agenda. We’re going to continue to work hard to ensure that this seat remains in Democratic control come November 2020.”

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