As most of us have spent the past two months in quarantine to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize this unexpected crisis has dramatically changed our lives, country, economy and even our freedoms.
Just as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the twin towers reframed and reshaped our national approach to security, this pandemic will have long-reaching effects on the way we interact with others at work, play and even how we worship from here on.
Make no mistake, COVID-19 is not finished with us. Even as it subsides in many states, we are being warned that it will resurge in the fall and winter months. Many lives and our economic stability will depend on elected officials’ ability to set aside the politics-as-usual, I-win-you-lose attitude.
These new times call not only for a Congress with a no-nonsense, solution-driven mind-set but members with the right experience and expertise. Among all of the candidates running to succeed Rep. David Loebsack, my life has uniquely prepared me for the challenges ahead to effectively protect us while minimizing the inevitable financial burden and social disruption.
I understand what it means to grow up in a working-class family and to work hard to achieve goals. I grew up as one of eight children of a father who was a U.S. Air Force enlisted man and a mother who had a general education degree. After being badly burned in an accident, I decided I would become a doctor.
I left home at 16 to attend community college, enlisted in the Army, eventually completing nursing school and then medical school. In all, I served 24 years on active duty and in the reserves. That experience taught me a great deal about discipline, organization and service to country.
Peers and former Gov. Terry Branstad have entrusted me in key leadership roles, electing me as president of the Iowa Medical Society and appointing me as director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, respectively.
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In 2018, voters in southeast Iowa elected me in a Senate district that tilts Democratic. I believe it was because they see in me what they know to be true of themselves: the tenacity and perseverance to never quit fighting to better themselves and their communities and create a better future for their children and grandchildren.
The next session of Congress will require leaders with the knowledge and toughness to make difficult but necessary decisions based on facts, not emotion or partisanship. That’s why I’m running for Congress.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks is a candidate in the Republican primary for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.