DAVENPORT, Iowa – A coalition of law enforcement officials on Monday endorsed Republican congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who called on opponent Rita Hart to end her silence about Democratic calls to defund police departments across the country.
“Local law enforcement officers are the people who keep us safe in our homes, on the street and in our communities. They are the men and women we count on the most in emergency situations and I guarantee that they can count on me because I have tremendous respect for them,” said Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa state senator. “My position is clear and that’s why voters deserve to know whether Rita Hart is going to go along with the ‘defund police’ movement. She seems to have plenty of time to tweet about nonexistent post office conspiracies but has remained strangely silent about supporting law enforcement. It’s time for her to speak up.”
The Miller-Meeks coalition includes 30 police officers, county sheriffs, chiefs of police and retired officials. Its endorsement comes after Miller-Meeks signed the Heritage Action’s Police Pledge, which states “A lawful society – free from mob rule and violent insurrection – is not possible without Law Enforcement. Police Officers have chosen a noble profession. They dedicate their lives to upholding the law and protecting the sacred rights of their fellow citizens. As a profession, they deserve support and respect. I stand with America’s Police and pledge to oppose any bill, resolution, or movement to ‘Defund the Police.”
Hart has not signed the pledge.
“As a retired Army lieutenant colonel, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has demonstrated from the beginning her support and respect for law enforcement,” said Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan. “She has a deep and abiding commitment for the rule of law and she doesn’t waver in that support. It’s been disappointing to see Rita Hart stay quiet when her colleagues are proposing the dismantlement of police departments. We need leaders in Washington that have our back and that is why I am proud to support Mariannette Miller-Meeks.”
Knoxville Police Chief Aaron Fuller said, “I consider myself apolitical. I am a registered independent. What’s important to me when I go to vote is knowing that a candidate supports police officers and law enforcement agencies everywhere. Now more than ever, police officers need a champion in Congress and I believe that Mariannette will be that champion.”
Coalition members include: Appanoose County Sheriff Gary Anderson; Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington; Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Bart Richmond; Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt; Knoxville Police Chief Aaron Fuller; Muscatine County Sheriff C.J. Ryan; Muscatine County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Quinn Riess; Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane; retired Davenport Officer Tim Brandenburg; retired Davenport Police Department Sgt. Jeanne Christensen; Davenport Police Department Sgt. Eric Gruenhagen; Washington County Sheriff Jared Schneider; Wayne County Sheriff Keith Davis; Clinton Deputy Police Chief Bill Grenwalt; Iowa State Patrol trooper/state Rep. Jon Thorup; Scott County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy/state Sen. Chris Cournoyer; Wapello County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Layton; retired Ottumwa Police Department Lt. Mike McDonough, Ottumwa Police Department Officer Darren Batterson; LeClaire Police Department Sgt. Mike Gonzales, Princeton Police Chief Brian Carsten, Clinton Police Chief Kevin Gyrion; Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Ludman; Blue Grass Chief of Police Garret Jahns; Walcott Police Chief Jeff Blake; Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenny Hora; retired Davenport Chief Steve Lynn; Muscatine County Sheriff’s Deputy Les Wegter; retired Broken Bow, Okla.,Chief of Police Rod Smith of Fairfield; and retired Phoenix police lieutenant, U.S. Marshal and current Clinton City Councilman Bill Schemers.
Miller-Meeks is an ophthalmologist and a 24-year U.S. Army veteran representing Senate District 41 in the Iowa Senate, which includes Davis, Jefferson, Van Buren, and Wapello counties. She seeks the seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, a seven-term Democratic congressman. After 14 years of Democrat control, Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is now rated as a “toss-up,” according to national political forecasters. Of the 31 congressional districts won by Trump and held by Democrats, Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is the only open seat.