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On Tuesday, February 16th, the Chamber's Jack Howard sat down with the Greater Burlington Partnership to get to know Congressowman Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
Who is Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks?
Elected: November 2020
Representing: Iowa's Second District
Mariannette originally dreamed of becoming a teacher because she loved school and wanted to share her passion for learning with others. However, in 10th grade, she was severely burned in a kitchen fire. While at the hospital, Mariannette was treated by a physical therapist who went out of her way to make sure she got better. This woman’s kindness and selflessness inspired her to become a doctor so she could help others.
Mariannette was the fourth of eight children and since her parents did not have the means to pay for college, she left home at 16 and enrolled in community college. She later enlisted in the United States Army at 18, where she served for 24 years as a private, nurse, and doctor (ophthalmologist or eye diseases/surgery.) She went into private practice in Ottumwa in 1997 and she has remained there with her husband, Curt.
Mariannette has two grown children, Jonathon and Taylor. In 2010, Governor Terry Branstad appointed her as the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health where she served until 2014.
In 2018, the voters of Senate District 41 elected Mariannette to fight for them in the Iowa State Senate. She resigned from the state senate on January 2, 2021 to take her seat in the United States House of Representatives.
"For me success is if we can do something to lower prescription drug prices for individuals, and that may be how we tackle Pharmacy Benefit Managers and pharmaceutical companies, that would be tremendously successful. If we are able to get a infrastructure package through that is multi-year, bipartisan, allows us to create jobs, and allows us to continue to have an economy that grows and flourishes, I would consider that successful. "
"Our job is to serve... You don't have to be the flashiest, you don't have to get the most media attention, but you can serve a lot of people just by being willing to meet with them, listen to them, and keeping an open mind."
The Bottom Line…
Congresswoman Miller-Meeks cannot be put into a box. From enlisting in the Army at age 18 to rising through the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel while earning her nursing and medical degrees, to eventually becoming a state Senator, Miller-Meeks has held many roles. However, she does not think of herself as someone that has an impressive resume, but rather as someone that has a lot of grit, tenacity, and perseverance.
As a doctor, Congresswoman Miller-Meeks saw firsthand the impact that government had on her ability to take care of her patience. This experience has framed how she would define success in her first term. For Miller-Meeks, success centers around reformed healthcare policies and job creation. Specifically, implementing policy to lower prescription drug prices while keeping pharmaceutical companies in the U.S., preparing for the next pandemic, and passing a multi-year, bipartisan infrastructure package are at the top of Miller-Meeks list of things to accomplish for her constituents.
A self-described realist, Miller-Meeks know that in order to deliver on these goals, she must be pragmatic and work with her colleagues, some of which who do not necessarily share her views. To do this, Miller-Meeks referenced her belief of the gold rule, treat others the way you want to be treated. “If you treat people with courtesy and respect and you listen, then you are able to develop those relationships and pass effective legislation,” said Miller-Meeks. This mindset helped her pass impactful legislation as a state Senator and is how she plans to do so while serving in Congress.
At the U.S. Chamber we are grateful to have leaders like Rep. Miller-Meeks who bring outstanding knowledge and life experience to Congress and are committed to serving with civility. We look forward to working with Rep. Miller-Meeks and all members of Congress to bring civility back into politics so that government can truly work for the people. It is time we get back to the business of governing, and we thank Congresswoman Miller-Meeks for joining us.