Miller-Meeks stepping down as public health director - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Miller-Meeks stepping down as public health director

Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Thursday morning that they have accepted the resignation of  Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the Iowa Department of Public Health Director .

“It is with regret that I accept Mariannette’s resignation, as she was a director who served with great passion,” Governor Branstad said in a written statement. “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.”

Miller-Meeks, who has been the agency’s director since Branstad and Reynolds took office, plans to look for opportunities outside of state government.  She has run for Congress twice already.  In a phone conversation with KWWL, she says her resignation certainly opens up the possibility of another political campaign, but she also has offers to return to medicine.

Miller-Meeks’ resignation is effective January 17, 2014.  Gerd Clabaugh, the department's deputy director, has been named interim director by Branstad.

The resignation also comes after Miller-Meeks was recently criticized for comments she made at an October event, highlighted in a newspaper story about food aid. In those remarks, Miller-Meeks inaccurately stated that the top item bought with food stamps in Iowa is Mountain Dew.  The Iowa Democratic Party criticized the comments.

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