The director of the Iowa Department of Public Health has resigned. Gov. Terry Branstad announced the resignation of Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Thursday, but gave no reason for her departure.
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist and Republican who twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, recently was criticized for comments she made at an October event about food aid. In those remarks, Miller-Meeks inaccurately stated that the top item bought with food stamps in Iowa is Mountain Dew. An agency spokeswoman later said "she regrets that she miscommunicated the information."
Miller-Meeks says she will explore other opportunities, including a potential third congressional run. She says she chose to leave and that she and the governor are on good terms.
Gov. Branstad has named the agency's deputy director, Gerd Clabaugh, as interim director.