Des Moines — Iowa Public Health Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, stepped down from the position today, and Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz also announced his candidacy for Iowa's Third District seat in the US House of Representative. Another candidate has already stepped forward to seek the Secretary of State's Office.
Miller-Meeks said she has been offered other opportunities, which she is exploring further. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad accepted her resignation earlier today.
“It is with regret that I accept Mariannette’s resignation, as she was a director who served with great passion,” Branstad said in a press release. “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 has served as the department's director since Branstad took over the Governor's Office in January 2011. Deputy Director Gerd Clabough will serve as interim director, effective Jan. 17. Marion County Public Health Director Kim Dorn says she has known both Miller-Meeks and Clabough. She wishes Miller-Meeks well and looks forward to working more closely with Clabough.
"I am glad to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Miller Meeks, and I will miss her leadership," Dorn said. "She was quite down-to-Earth as a leader. She has been to my office, and I have visited hers to talk about the direction of public health in the future. Her email this morning indicates that she has some interesting opportunities, and she didn’t want to give partial effort by being distracted. I wish her well in whatever she moves forward with."
"(Clabough) was with IDPH many years ago in the financial world of IDPH. He went to the private sector for awhile, and then came back to IDPH," Dorn added. "I know him because we were both president of the Iowa Public Health Association (at different times, of course), so our paths cross there. Our paths crossed occasionally in his role as deputy director of IDPH as well. His historical perspective, his experience with private/public partnerships, and his focused style will be an asset during his tenure as the interim director."