Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks resigned as director of the Iowa Departmartment of Public Health Thursday morning, fueling speculation that she would attempt another run at Congress. Miller-Meeks made congressional bids in 2008 and 2010, winning the GOP nomination both times, but losing in the general election.
For several months, Miller-Meeks has been considering running for Iowa’s Second Congressional District seat, currently held by Democrat Dave Loebsack. She has already sent petition papers to county GOP organizations in the Second District so she can collect signatures during the Iowa Caucuses on January 21. The only other announced candidate in the field is Iowa House Rep. Mark Lofgren (R-Muscatine).
Below is the email Miller-Meeks sent to colleagues Thursday morning:
I wanted to share this information with you firsthand rather than fueling speculation. I have voluntarily resigned as Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health in good standing. Governor Branstad has reluctantly but graciously accepted my resignation.
As a director, one should be completely focused on their job, but I have recently been presented several interesting opportunities. I did not want my exploration of these options to distract from my duties as a director, so I thought it best to resign and more fully engage in determining the most viable option for my family and me.
It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve both Governor Branstad and the people of Iowa. I have worked with dedicated and talented people within the Department of Public Health and within other agencies, which makes it extraordinarily difficult to leave.
I continue to appreciate all of the work you have done, and are doing to protect and promote the health of all Iowans. It has been a pleasure to serve alongside of you.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks BSN, MSEd, MD
Director, Iowa Department of Public Health
Below is the press release sent by Governor Branstad’s office, announcing Miller-Meeks resignation:
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced he has accepted the resignation of Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
“It is with regret that I accept Mariannette’s resignation, as she was a director who served with great passion,” said Branstad. “Mariannette has been a champion of health in Iowa, including working to promote our Healthiest State Initiative. Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and I thank her for her service to the people of Iowa.”
“Mariannette’s passion for serving the people of Iowa and promoting healthy lifestyles was and asset as we embarked on our mission of becoming the healthiest state in the nation,” said Reynolds. “We wish Mariannette the best in her future endeavors and thank her for her service.”
Miller-Meeks has served as the agency’s director since Branstad and Reynolds took office.
“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds and the people of Iowa,” said Miller-Meeks. “I have worked with dedicated and talented individuals in the Iowa Department of Public Health. As I explore other opportunities outside state government, I will always value and fondly remember my time working to promote and protect the health of Iowans.”
Branstad has named Gerd Clabaugh the interim director of IDPH. Clabaugh currently serves as the department’s deputy director.
Miller-Meeks’ resignation is effective January 17, 2014.
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