Miller-Meeks visits UI campus


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Grand Old Party beer cozies were off to the side as a congressional candidate stood in front of attentive conservatives.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an eye doctor and a former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, held a roundtable discussion with University of Iowa College Republicans on Tuesday night as part of the organization’s Grand Old Party Week outreach efforts.

Miller-Meeks is seeking Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District seat for the third time. She is running against Rep. Mark Lofgren, R-Muscatine, and Matthew C. Waldren, from Eddyville, to win the June Republican primary. She previously ran against Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in 2008 and 2010, both resulting in defeat.

Officials from the Miller-Meeks campaign reached out to the group, particularly to speak to students about the Affordable Care Act. Miller-Meeks has focused her campaign on her negative reaction to the health-care bill.

“I think it’s very important that you meet people on their ground and on their turf, so part of this is learning and listening from and then also explaining what I’m about and what my candidacy is about and hopefully to get young people on board with the campaign,” she said. “I think it’s important to know that you can keep your health care and you can lose your congressman.”

Miller-Meeks said she is pleased with her campaign’s progress since it began about two months ago.

College Republicans President Quentin Marquez said group members can be valuable to Miller-Meeks’ campaign by providing support as interns and volunteers.

“We are an excited workforce both for the candidates and for the party,” he said. “We have a lot of opportunities to get our college really involved in campaigns and on the party level, and we’ve done a very good job at securing those positions for our members.”

Senate candidates Mark Jacobs, a businessman, and Sam Clovis, a professor at Iowa State University, have also visited the College Republicans. Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, and Loebsack have kept in touch with the UI Democrats.

Miller-Meeks devoted much of her discussion to the Affordable Care Act and how she believes it affects college students. She gave examples of people she spoke to who had health-care costs raised or lost plans.

“The UDems support the president’s agenda, so we support the [the health-care law],” UI Democrats President Carter Bell wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. “I, along with many of the other UDems members, are extremely supportive of the [health-care law] and are tired of Republicans fighting a losing battle over what is the law of the land instead of bringing their own issues to the table.”

Miller-Meeks also gave time to the subject of gender. Iowa has never sent a women to Congress. The congressional candidate said she hopes the first will not be a Democrat.

Bell said she would like to “break the gender glass ceiling in Iowa politics” with a Democrat.

“However, I do not consider this to be a competition with Republican women,” Bell wrote. “If Republicans think this is a competition to “take” the first congressional seat held by a woman, then they should start by supporting a pro-woman platform, instead of promoting a slate of anti-reproductive rights, a repeal of the [health-care law], and cuts to education.”

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