Iowa Public Health Director Miller-Meeks Resigns

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (right) hugs her sister, Mari-Eleanor Miller Martino of Westport, Conn., after Miller-Meeks conceded her Congressional race against Democratic opponent Dave Loebsack during her election night watch party at the McCord Club in the Kinnick Stadium press box on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, in Iowa City. (Liz Martin/SourceMedia Group News)

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By Richard Pratt

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health has resigned.

Branstad announced the resignation of Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Thursday.

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 that were highlighted in a Lee 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 statement isn't true and an agency spokeswoman later said "she regrets that she miscommunicated the information."

Miller-Meeks says she will explore job opportunities, as well as a potential third congressional run. She says she chose to leave and that she and the governor are on good terms.

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