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Law enforcement coalition endorses Miller-Meeks' congressional bid

Group praises Iowa state senator for her opposition to 'defunding the police'

CEDAR RAPIDS — A coalition of current and retired law enforcement officers has endorsed state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks for Congress for her support for the rule of law and opposition to calls to defund the police.

“She has a deep and abiding commitment for the rule of law and she doesn’t waver in that support,” Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan said in his endorsement. Miller “has demonstrated from the beginning her support and respect for law enforcement.”

The endorsement of the Ottumwa Republican in the open-seat race to succeed retiring Rep. Dave Loebsack comes after Miller-Meeks signed the police pledge by Heritage Action for America, a conservative advocacy group. The pledge states “A lawful society — free from mob rule and violent insurrection — is not possible without law enforcement. Police officers ... dedicate their lives to upholding the law and protecting the sacred rights of their fellow citizens. As a profession, they deserve support and respect. I stand with America’s police and pledge to oppose any bill, resolution or movement to ‘Defund the Police.’ ”

Ryan said law enforcement is disappointed that Democratic candidate Rita Hart has chosen “to stay quiet when her colleagues are proposing the dismantlement of police departments. We need leaders in Washington that have our back and that is why I am proud to support Mariannette Miller-Meeks.”

However, the Hart campaign said it had not been approached by Heritage Action.

“Of course Rita doesn’t support defunding the police,” campaign manager Zachary Meunier said. “Her home county sheriff supports her campaign, and in the state Senate she voted for tax credits to ensure law enforcement officers had the tools they needed to keep communities safe. In Congress, Rita will focus on the hard work of bringing people from both parties together to root out racism and ensure equal justice and safety for all.”

Local law enforcement officers, Miller-Meeks said, “are the people who keep us safe ... the men and women we count on the most in emergency situations, and I guarantee that they can count on me because I have tremendous respect for them.”

“My position is clear and that’s why voters deserve to know whether Rita Hart is going to go along with the ‘defund police’ movement,” Miller-Meeks said. “She seems to have plenty of time to tweet about nonexistent post office conspiracies, but has remained strangely silent about supporting law enforcement. It’s time for her to speak up.”

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Knoxville Police Chief Aaron Fuller said he considers himself apolitical, but he’s backing Miller-Meeks because “now more than ever, police officers need a champion in Congress, and I believe that Mariannette will be that champion.”

Members of the law enforcement coalition include: Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson, Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, Jefferson County Chief Deputy Bart Richmond, Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt, Knoxville Police Chief Aaron Fuller, Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Capt. Quinn Riess, Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane, retired Davenport Officer Tim Brandenburg, retired Davenport Police Sgt. Jeanne Christensen, Davenport Police Sgt. Eric Gruenhagen, Washington County Sheriff Jared Schneider, Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis, Clinton Deputy Police Chief Bill Grenwalt; Iowa State Patrol trooper and state Rep. Jon Thorup, Scott County Sheriff’s Reserve Deputy and state Sen. Chris Cournoyer, Wapello County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Layton, retired Ottumwa Police Lt. Mike McDonough, Ottumwa Officer Darren Batterson, LeClaire Police Sgt. Mike Gonzales, Princeton Police Chief Brian Carsten, Clinton Chief Kevin Gyrion, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Ludman, Blue Grass Chief Garret Jahns, Walcott Chief Jeff Blake, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenny Hora, retired Davenport Chief Steve Lynn, Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Les Wegter, retired Fairfield Chief Rod Smith, and retired Phoenix police lieutenant, U.S. Marshal and current Clinton City Council member Bill Schemers.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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