Mariannette Miller-Meeks announces her candidacy for re-election and castigates Joe Biden

U.S. Representative for Iowa Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Saturday kicked off her next congressional campaign in Iowa City, targeting President Joe Biden and a Democratic Party she hopes will help overthrow from power.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas joined an array of familiar faces of Iowa Republicans at Streb Construction in support of the new congressman as she announced her intention to run for a second term to represent the 2nd District of the Iowa Congress in 2022. Besides Cotton, who has become a regular visitor to Iowa, US Representatives Ashley Hinson and Randy Feenstra, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, former United States Attorney General Acting United Matthew Whittaker and Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kauffman attempted to ignite a crowd of around 200 people.

“What a great place to kick off a re-election campaign, with a hatchback in Iowa City on a construction site,” Miller-Meeks told an enthusiastic crowd. “Because we are going to build better.”

Many in the crowd were sporting Iowa Hawkeyes football gear for the event, hours before the team hosted Kent State at nearby Kinnick Stadium.

U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, speaks on Saturday at Streb Construction in Iowa City, where she announced she was running for a second term in Congress.

Miller-Meeks won her first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020 over Democrat Rita Hart by a margin of six votes which has been challenged by recounts that have dragged on this year.

That fact was not lost on Miller-Meeks and the Republicans who joined her on Saturday at the event, which was billed as an inaugural hatchback for her campaign. The event mirrored a similar event by Hinson in August, when she brought in U.S. Senator Ted Cruz from Texas to announce her re-election campaign.

Miller-Meeks chose to announce his candidacy for Iowa City amid growing uncertainty that the Congressional Residents District of Ottumwa will still include Johnson County after a new map is approved.

The first proposed redistribution map released last week places Johnson County in the 1st Congressional District of Iowa along with Linn and Scott Counties and includes Hinson’s house in Marion. The proposed 2nd Congressional District stretches from Ottumwa in the south to the state’s northern border with Wisconsin in Winnesheik County.

In an interview with Press-Citizen after Saturday’s event, Miller-Meeks said she believes the redistribution process is bipartisan and that she would like to let it unfold.

“I love my old district too, but wherever I am I will work hard to let people know that I am their voice in Washington DC,” she said when asked if she would still like it. Iowa City and Johnson County – the two traditional Democratic strongholds – are in its congressional district.

So far, only one Democrat has announced plans to run against Miller-Meeks in 2022. Iowa State Representative Christina Bohannan of Iowa City announced her candidacy in late August, saying she ‘she would like Congress to work together rather than constantly bickering.

Miller-Meeks said the United States was “on the precipice” but chose to focus much of its 12 minutes in front of the crowd on issues and events away from home. She and the other speakers vehemently criticized the Biden administration‘s choice to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and even called out most of the president’s foreign policy team, such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and General Mark Milley, to resign.

“Our current president has been wrong about every foreign policy decision over the past four decades. And he still hasn’t learned to judge well,” she said. “What happened in Afghanistan was incompetence and incompetence, and let’s hope it was just that.”

Less than a month ago Miller-Meeks, a veteran who retired from the U.S. military as a lieutenant colonel, tweeted that she also wanted Biden to step down as commander-in-chief. . She told Press-Citizen on Saturday that she didn’t mean Biden should step down as president, but rather cede his decision-making power over the military to someone else.

“(Resigning) is a difficult thing to do, but I think there has to be an acknowledgment of what happened in Afghanistan, the withdrawal and what the plan was,” she said. .

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Cotton, who spoke after Miller-Meeks for nearly 20 minutes, began by introducing himself, telling stories about his family and his experiences as a lawyer, senator and captain in the United States military.

“It’s always great to be back in Iowa. I haven’t yet seen a game in what (Matthew Whittaker) called the ‘Johnson County People’s Republic’,” Cotton said. “I see a lot of great Tories here from Johnson County so maybe the tide is turning.”

Cotton, who is widely believed to be considering running for president in 2024, quickly turned to discussing many of the same domestic issues Miller-Meeks touched on. Cotton said he knew a lot of politicians came to Iowa to flatter, but said that was not what he was here for.

Cotton said the challenges in Washington and across the country are no longer minor disagreements. He said Democrats came to the conclusion that America was “rotten to the core,” and pointed out that some politicians claimed the United States was systematically racist.

“This is why they say that our country is founded not in 1776 on the principle of freedom but in 1619 on the standard of servitude. They believe that our way of life must be radically transformed”, he said. declared.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Speaks during the Mariannette Miller-Meeks Tailgate Celebration First Fundraiser on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Streb Construction in Iowa City, Iowa.

The senator also sharply criticized Biden over the withdrawal from Afghanistan, immigration to the Mexican border, and claimed the president was trying to push socialism in the country with the Democrats’ draft budget reconciliation bill. of $ 3.5 trillion under debate.

The bill, which faces almost unanimous opposition from Republicans and challenges from moderate Democrats, would maintain the monthly check of $ 300 per child that most parents receive under the revamped federal child tax credit, expand medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing aids. for seniors and make community college tuition free. It would also cap childcare costs and invest in sustainable energy.

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After the event, Cotton told the Press-Citizen he planned to be regularly present in Iowa to help Hinson, Miller-Meeks and US Senator from Iowa Chuck Grassley campaign for re-election.

“The margins in Congress are so small that Iowa alone could do a lot to ensure that we regain control of Congress,” he said.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Shakes hands with guests during Mariannette Miller-Meeks Tailgate Celebration's inaugural fundraiser on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Streb Construction in Iowa City, Iowa.

When Miller-Meeks spoke, she also turned her attention to the issues of the US-Mexico border, previous conflicts in Israel and Gaza, and the US economy.

At the start of her speech, the MP asked the veterans in the audience to stand up to be recognized and spoke directly to them, saying, “You deserve to be recognized. You deserve to be honored. deserve to be betrayed by our Commander-in-Chief. “

Miller-Meeks also criticized Biden’s mandate that employers with 100 or more workers ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

The rep and former ophthalmologist lobbied for people to get vaccinated and even administered doses to voters in 24 counties herself, but said the requirement for vaccines would hurt businesses and exacerbate the effects of the shortage. of the workforce experienced by many companies.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, left, presents Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa at her first Tailgate Celebration fundraiser on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at Streb Construction in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I tell people about the vaccine. I try to persuade them to get the vaccine. But I still think there shouldn’t be a warrant and we should recognize natural immunity,” she said. .

Natural immunity to the COVID-19 pandemic would involve someone catching the virus and recovering from it, giving their immune system the experience of battling the virus. Experts say natural immunity is not a solution to COVID-19 because catching the virus and surviving doesn’t give you enough protective antibodies, just like getting an mRNA vaccine like the Moderna vaccine. or Pfizer.

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George Shillcock is the Press-Citizen local government and development reporter covering Iowa City and Johnson County. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @ShillcockGeorge

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