Mariannette Miller Meeks
My father was a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force who was forced to take up extra work, sometimes two or three jobs, to support our family. My mother, who did not have a high school education, also worked multiple jobs.
I originally dreamed of becoming a teacher because I loved school and wanted to share my passion for learning with others. However, in 10th grade, my younger brother and I were severely burned in a kitchen fire. While at the hospital, I was treated by a physical therapist who went out of her way to make sure I got better. This woman’s kindness and selflessness inspired me to become a doctor so I could help others.
I was the fourth of eight children and since my parents did not have the means to pay for college, I left home at 16 and enrolled in community college. I later enlisted in the United States Army at 18, where I served for 24 years as a private, nurse, and doctor (ophthalmologist or eye diseases/surgery). I went into private practice in Ottumwa in 1997 and have remained there with my husband, Curt. We have two grown children, Jonathon and Taylor. In 2010, Governor Terry Branstad appointed me as the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health where I served for three years.
In 2018, the voters of Senate District 41 elected me to fight for them in the Iowa State Senate.