Mariannette Miller-Meeks discusses pandemic response in Coralville

Johnson County Republicans hosted Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa City less than a week before elections, discussing the importance of keeping health-care affordable during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mariannette+Miller-Meeks%2C+Republican+candidate+for+Iowas+2nd+Congressional+District%2C+speaks+with+voters+at+the+Johnson+County+Republicans+Headquarters+in+Coralville+on+Wednesday.

Raquele Decker

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Republican candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, speaks with voters at the Johnson County Republicans Headquarters in Coralville on Wednesday.

Lillian Poulsen, News Reporter


Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Republican candidate in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, rallied Johnson County Republicans six days before the election where she touted her work as a health-care professional, saying opening up the economy amid COVID-19 would be beneficial to people’s mental health.

“There’s a cost to not opening up an economy. It is mental health, and we know that mental health issues have increased,” said Miller-Meeks, an Opthamologist from Ottumwa. “You have increased addiction, you have increased domestic violence, and increased child abuse.”

The Johnson County Republicans welcomed Miller-Meeks to their office in Iowa City on Wednesday morning. Miller-Meeks talked about her work in making medical care more accessible once she’s in office.

Miller-Meeks was wearing a mask and took it off for her speech. A few attendees wore masks, but most kept them off for the event and a group photo.

Miller-Meeks has served as the state senator from Ottumwa since 2019, and her Democratic opponent, Democrat Rita Hart served as a state senator from 2013 to 2019. Miller-Meeks served in the U.S. Army for 24 years and was the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health for about three years until January 2014.

The race in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is one of the most competitive in the state, with many election experts labeling the race as a toss up.

While speaking with the crowd, Miller-Meeks addressed questions about her voting record and what she plans to do once she’s elected.

“The first thing we need to do is we have to get through the pandemic,” Miller-Meeks said. “We know that as we live through this pandemic, until we have a vaccine where we can have herd immunity, we have to to protect the most vulnerable.”

Miller-Meeks said physical health is a priority, but it’s important to keep the economy open and address mental-health issues.

Miller-Meeks said she would support national initiatives to reopen the economy if elected to Congress.

RELATED: Rita Hart appeals to rural interests in Coralville

“It’s a serious issue because it’s life versus life — not life versus the economy,” Miller-Meeks said. “Everybody is sacrificing, everybody is suffering, and people would like to get back to some normalcy.”

As a health-care professional, Miller-Meeks said she plans to work on improving access to health care for all Iowans.

Miller-Meeks said she plans to provide more funding to public health once she’s elected. In her work in the Iowa Senate, Miller-Meeks worked to increase telehealth visit accessibility and affordability.

She also talked about her legislation to lower prescription drug costs, increase access to insulin, and end the pre-authorization for medications so people don’t have to wait for life-saving prescriptions, Miller-Meeks said.

With the election on Nov. 3, Miller-Meeks said she cares about the voter’s opinion.

“There’s only one endorsement I care about, and that’s what the voters do,” Miller-Meeks said. “I will take that same hard work ethic, that same availability and accessibility — visiting with anyone no matter what party they are – to enact legislation that helps Iowans. I did it in the Senate, and I can do it in Congress.”

Supporters in attendance said they trust Miller-Meeks to keep their interests in mind.

“I love her work ethic, I love her values,” said Cathy Grawe, 72, a Coralville resident. “She cares about people, and she’s not a political hack. She’s a wonderful lady, and she’s smart and hard working.”

Supporter and Iowa City resident Bill Keettel, 72, said he believes she will improve medical care for Iowans, which is one of the reasons why he’s voting for her.

“In terms of medical care, one of the things she’s always been interested in is some of the aspects of bringing costs down in medicine,” Keettel said. “Mariannette, as a doctor, knows and understands this stuff better than most. She will make a major contribution in that area.”

Keettel said he trusts that she will get work done as soon as she’s elected. Keettel said he thinks current Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack didn’t do enough in Congress.

“I believe a congressman in this district needs to make a mark and accomplish things immediately and not wait their turn in line,” Keettel said. “In Marianette, we have one of the most intelligent, capable, and knowledgeable candidates that we’ve ever had here in this district.”

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