George Miller (California politician)

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George Miller
George Miller house photo.jpg
Chairperson of the House Education Committee
In office
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Buck McKeon
Succeeded by John Kline
Chairperson of the House Natural Resources Committee
In office
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1995
Preceded by Mo Udall
Succeeded by Don Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 11th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Preceded by redistricted
Succeeded by Mark DeSaulnier (Elect)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1975 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Ron Dellums
Succeeded by Ami Bera
Personal details
Born (1945-05-17) May 17, 1945 (age 69)
Richmond, California, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Cynthia Caccavo
Children 2
Alma mater Diablo Valley College
San Francisco State University
University of California, Davis
Religion Roman Catholicism

George Miller III (born May 17, 1945) is the U.S. Representative for California's 11th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1975. He is a member of the Democratic Party. From 2007 to 2011, Miller served as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. On January 13, 2014, Miller announced that he will retire from Congress at the end of his current term.[1]

Early life, education, and early career[edit]

The son of liberal State Senator and Democratic Party leader George Miller, Jr., he was born in Richmond, California in 1945. He graduated from Diablo Valley Community College and San Francisco State University.

After his father died in 1969, Miller ran in a March 1969 special election to succeed him as state senator for California's 7th State Senate district, but Republican John Nejedly defeated him 57% to 42%.[2]

He then attended the University of California, Davis School of Law (King Hall), where he received his Juris Doctor. After admission to the university, he served as legislative assistant to California Senate majority leader George Moscone before entering the U.S. House of Representatives in 1974.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

An early congressional photo of Miller

Elections[edit]

In 1974, incumbent Democratic U.S. Representative Ron Dellums decided to run in the newly redrawn 8th district. Miller decided to run for the open seat in California's 7th congressional district. He won the primary with a plurality of 38%.[3] In the general election, he defeated Republican Gary Fernandez 56% to 44%,[4] the lowest winning percentage of his career. He went on to win re-election 18 times, and never won with less than 60% of the vote.[5]

2012

After redistricting, Miller's district was redrawn and renumbered the 11th. He ran against, and defeated, Republican Virginia Fuller in the general election.[6]

In a 2012 campaign ad, Miller said that the main challenge the U.S. faces is the need “to correct the disparities that exist in our country.”[7]

Fuller has spoken of her inspiration to run against Miller: "We are going deeper and deeper into a debt our children will never be able to pay." Democratic primary challenger John Fitzgerald, for his part, said that “people like us” need to run for Congress because D.C. pols are no longer in touch with the world.[8]

Tenure[edit]

According to the National Journal, Miller is one of seven members of the House of Representatives who tie for most liberal.[9]

In 2011-12, Miller sponsored 10 bills (placing him at #40 out of 440 House members), none of which were made into law (ranks 18 of 440). He co-sponsored 199 bills (placing him at #138 out of 440), 4 of which were made Into law (ranks 17 of 440).[10]

During Miller's 1974 campaign, he routinely disclosed his donors and expenses, taking advantage of the Watergate scandal that was still in the minds of voters. This helped get him a seat in the House at the age of 29, becoming one of the Watergate Babies. Miller is one of the three remaining Congressmen elected in the class following the Watergate scandal - the others are Henry Waxman and Rick Nolan - and has spent over half of his life in Congress.[11] One of the 10 most senior members of Congress, Miller has been described as someone who has "proven himself both a liberal lion ...and savvy about working both sides of the aisle.”[12]

With his father being the former chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee and mentor Phillip Burton being an integral part of liberal politics in the 1970s, Miller has been described as the “heir to a tradition of Bay Area working-class politics.” Miller has one of the most liberal voting records in the House, and brings "a zest for political combat." A review of Miller's career states that, although he has been unsuccessful in his pursuit of top party positions, he has "learned a legislator’s virtues of patience, timing, and creativity."[13]

Environmental issues

In the House, Miller has been a member of the Natural Resources Committee; he was that Committee's chairman from 1991 to 1994. Miller has supported efforts to preserve public lands such as the 1994 California Desert Protection Act, which among other things created Death Valley National Park and Joshua Tree National Park. In addition, Miller was the chief sponsor of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act of 1992, which mandated that the federal government's Bureau of Reclamation manage the Central Valley Project in order to better protect the fish and wildlife populations of California's Bay-Delta region.[14] Miller lost his chairmanship when Republicans won control of Congress in 1994. He stayed as the committee's Ranking Member until 2000, and remains on the committee. Miller is also a member of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus.

Labor issues

From 2001 to 2006, Miller was the ranking Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee. With that committee's chairman, and their Senate counterparts, Miller helped draft the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 and 2002. Miller has focused on pension issues, reinstating Davis-Bacon Act wage protections for Gulf Coast workers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, Miller has worked on education issues such as protesting student aid cuts,[15] increasing No Child Left Behind Act funding, and investigating the Bush administration's hiring of Armstrong Williams to promote that law. Miller has also been a vocal advocate of labor and immigration reform in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.[16] In 2007, as chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Miller sponsored the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, which was enacted into law as an amendment to another bill. In 2001, Miller said, "The secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose." He was an "outspoken critic of the apparel industry record on worker safety in foreign factories, most recently in Bangladesh."[17]

Education

Miller authored a piece arguing for the passage of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which he said would take money from subsidies and invest more in Pell Grant scholarships. He said that, instead of enriching banks with the current loan system, the bill would "invest billions in school modernization, give urgent help to historically black colleges and Hispanic serving institutions, and boost support for the nation’s bedrock local community colleges." Miller said the system was only alive because of lobbyists and he urged the Senate to "send those dollars to students, at no costs to taxpayers."[18] Miller sponsored the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act, a bill that would require school districts receiving federal funds to give all employees criminal background checks.[19] The bill passed the House of Representatives on October 22, 2013.[19]

Port Chicago disaster

Miller has petitioned to clear the names of the sailors of the World War II Port Chicago disaster in which more than 200 black men were court-martialed and 50 convicted of mutiny for refusing to continue to load ammunition onto warships after a tremendous explosion killed hundreds. For the most part, Miller's efforts failed, and fewer than four of the sailors convicted of mutiny are still alive. However, in 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned Freddie Meeks, one of the 50 mutineers.[20] In addition, Miller wrote the legislation to designate the site of the event as a National Memorial.[21][22]

Indian gambling

Miller is a supporter of Indian gambling. In 2000, as ranking member of the House Resource Committee, Miller inserted an amendment to the Omnibus Indian Advancement Act that took an existing cardroom into federal trust for the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians. The amendment made the land acquisition retroactive to 1987, stating that "[s]uch land shall be deemed to have been held in trust and part of the reservation of the Rancheria prior to October 17, 1988."[23] This allowed the Lyttons to open a casino at the cardroom under the terms of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Some members of Congress and the gambling industry have called the amendment "underhanded," while other politicians have called the maneuver nothing out of the ordinary.[24]

2008 presidential election

Miller, a superdelegate in the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential primary, pledged his support to Barack Obama despite the fact that his district voted for Hillary Clinton. Miller cited Obama's grassroots fundraising campaign, first-place win in the Iowa caucus and strong showing in the New Hampshire primary, leadership style and opposition to the Iraq War as reasons for his endorsement. The endorsement was first reported in the Contra Costa Times on January 9, 2008.[25]

Relationship with Nancy Pelosi

Miller has been considered Nancy Pelosi's most trusted confidant, with conservative columnist Robert Novak describing him as "her consigliere, always at her side." Pelosi receives advice from Miller as well as protection from potential adversaries in the Democratic Caucus. Miller describes her as the leader he has been waiting for 30 years and supported her when the Democrats lost the majority in 2010, saying that the Obama administration did not defend her or her accomplishments. Pelosi also named Miller chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, where he had an influential role in preparing the "New Direction" for the 2006 election.[13]

Their friendship has spanned "over 30 years and many plane trips to Washington from their neighboring California districts," with some colleagues saying that they have become so close that they finish each other's sentences. The New York Times reported that "In the concerns of some Democrats — and the I-told-you-so’s of some Republicans — Mr. Miller represents Mrs. Pelosi’s true liberal soul.”[12]

SunPower controversy

It was reported that Miller and his son, George Miller IV, a lobbyist, were involved in the controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Energy awarding a $1.2 billion loan to the struggling SunPower Corporation.[26] The loan was awarded hours before the DOE program was set to expire. It was reported that by April 2012, the company's stock had fallen nearly 50% since the loan had been awarded. SunPower has paid Miller's son and his lobbying firm US$138,000 to represent them. Miller asserts that he and his son never discusses legislation; his son, however, does boast of political connections in Washington openly.[26]

Conservative critics said that "[t]here is great cause for alarm over political influence contaminating the DOE loan guarantee program.”[27] Liberal sources note speaking with Miller IV on the phone, and reported his statement he does not specifically work on SunPower's account.

Accepting free travel

In January 2012, Miller was cited as one of the members of Congress who had accepted the most free travel the previous year.[28]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Miller owns a residence in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and rents rooms to other members of the U.S. House and Senate. As of April 2010, his tenant housemates are Senators Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin and Representative Bill Delahunt.[30] Miller purchased the residence in 1977, and his past housemates have included former Representatives Marty Russo, Leon Panetta and Sam Gejdenson.[31]

Electoral history[edit]

United States House of Representatives elections, 1974[32]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller 82,765 55.6%
Republican Mark C. Luce 66,115 44.4%
Totals 148,880 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1976[33]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 147,064 74.7%
Republican Robert L. Vickers 45,863 23.3%
American Independent Melvin E. Stanley 3,889 2.0%
Totals 196,816 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1978[34]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 109,676 63.5%
Republican Paula Gordon 58,332 33.7%
American Independent Melvin E. Stanley 4,857 2.8%
Totals 172,865 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1980[35]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 142,044 63.3%
Republican Giles St. Clair 70,479 31.4%
Libertarian Steve Snow 6,923 3.1%
American Independent Thomas J. "Tommy" Thompson 5,023 2.2%
Totals 224,469 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1982[36]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 126,952 67.2%
Republican Paul E. Vallely 56,960 30.2%
Libertarian Rich Newell 2,752 1.4%
American Independent Terry L. Wells 2,205 1.2%
Totals 188,509 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1984[37]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 158,306 66.7%
Republican Rosemary Thakar 78,985 33.3%
Totals 237,291 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1986[38]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 124,174 66.6%
Republican Rosemary Thakar 62,379 33.4%
Totals 186,553 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1988[39]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 170,006 68.4%
Republican Jean Last 78,478 31.6%
Totals 248,484 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1990[40]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 121,080 60.5%
Republican Roger A. Payton 79,031 39.5%
Totals 200,111 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1992[41]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 153,320 70.3%
Republican Dave Scholl 54,822 25.1%
Peace and Freedom David L. Franklin 9,840 4.6%
Totals 217,982 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1994[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 116,105 69.7%
Republican Charles V. Hughes 45,698 27.4%
Peace and Freedom William A. "Bill" Callison 4,798 2.9%
Totals 166,601 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1996[43]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 137,089 71.9%
Republican Norman H. Reece 42,542 22.3%
Reform William C. Thompson 6,866 3.6%
Natural Law Bob Liatunick 4,420 2.3%
Totals 190,917 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 1998[44]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 125,842 76.7%
Republican Norman H. Reece 38,290 23.3%
Totals 164,132 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2000[45]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 159,692 76.5%
Republican Christopher A. Hoffman 44,154 21.2%
Natural Law Martin Sproul 4,943 2.3%
Totals 208,789 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2002[46]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 97,849 70.8%
Republican Charles R. Hargrave 36,584 21.2%
Libertarian Scott A. Wilson 3,943 2.8%
Totals 138,376 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2004[47]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 166,831 76.1%
Republican Charles R. Hargrave 52,446 23.9%
Totals 219,277 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2006[48]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 118,000 84.0%
Libertarian Camden McConnell 22,486 16.0%
Totals 140,486 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2008[49]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 170,962 72.9%
Republican Roger Allen Petersen 51,166 21.8%
Peace and Freedom Bill Callison 6,695 2.8%
Libertarian Camden McConnell 5,950 2.5%
Totals 234,773 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 90,504 67.4%
Republican Rick Tubbs 43,792 32.6%
Totals 134,296 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold
United States House of Representatives elections, 2012[50]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic George Miller (incumbent) 200,743 69.7%
Republican Virginia Fuller 87,136 30.3%
Totals 287,879 100%
Voter turnout  %
Democratic hold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Simon, Richard (January 13, 2014). "San Francisco area Rep. George Miller to retire from Congress". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=680338
  3. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=735206
  4. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=31768
  5. ^ http://www.ourcampaigns.com/CandidateDetail.html?CandidateID=675
  6. ^ "Challenger Fuller takes on long-term incumbent Miller for Congress". Antioch Herald. 
  7. ^ "Rep. George Miller: Reignite the American Dream". George Miller for Congress. 
  8. ^ They Dream of Ending Miller's 38 Years in Congress
  9. ^ "Top Ten Liberal Representatives". The National Journal. 
  10. ^ "Rep. George Miller". Open Congress. 
  11. ^ "Miller Path to Power". Washington Post. February 8, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Zernike, Kate (25 November 2006). "Pelosi’s Ascendancy in House Puts a Close Liberal Ally in the Spotlight". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ a b "NJ Almanac George Miller". National Journal. 
  14. ^ Reclamation MP Region CVPIA homepage
  15. ^ Romano, Lois (August 28, 2010). "Groups gird to battle Congress' proposed student aid cuts". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  16. ^ Information from Congressman George Miller on the Northern Marianas Islands
  17. ^ Ellis, Kristi (13 January 2014). "Rep. George Miller, Worker Rights Advocate, to Retire". WWD. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Miller, George. "It's Simple: Reform Student Loans and Take Away Wasteful Bank Subsidies". Change.org. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  19. ^ a b Kasperowicz, Pete (22 October 2013). "House votes to require criminal background checks on school employees". The Hill. Retrieved 25 October 2013. 
  20. ^ Port Chicago Disaster - The Pardon
  21. ^ Congressman Miller's Port Chicago Page
  22. ^ Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial: World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
  23. ^ http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=106_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ568.106
  24. ^ https://san.secure.newtimes.com/issues/2001-06-06/news/feature_5.html
  25. ^ George Miller endorses Obama - ContraCostaTimes.com
  26. ^ a b "Hot water rising for Rep. Miller, son". The Washington Examiner. 6 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "Solar company with $1.2 billion taxpayer loan guarantee, political connections exhibits signs of financial trouble". The Daily Caller. 11 October 2011. 
  28. ^ "Members of Congress Travel Far on Private Groups' Dime". Roll Call. 
  29. ^ Children, youth, and families: Beginning the assessment. Hearing before the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families; House of Representatives, Ninety-Eighth Congress, First Session, United States House of Representatives, Washington, DC, 28 April 1984, Original document retrieved 19 January 2014 from ERIC at Ed.gov: Institution of Education Sciences.
  30. ^ Madden, Mike (April 23, 2010). "Schumer and Durbin: Roommates to rivals?Schumer and Durbin: Roommates to rivals?". Salon. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  31. ^ Leibovich, Mark (January 18, 2007). "AT HOME WITH GEORGE MILLER, RICHARD J. DURBIN, CHARLES E. SCHUMER AND BILL DELAHUNT; Taking Power, Sharing Cereal". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2010. 
  32. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 4, 1974," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  33. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 2, 1976," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  34. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 7, 1978," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  35. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 4, 1980," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  36. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 2, 1982," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  37. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 6, 1984," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  38. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 4, 1986," (retrieved on August 1st, 2009).
  39. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 8, 1988," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  40. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 6, 1990," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  41. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 3, 1992," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  42. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 8, 1994," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  43. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 5, 1996," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  44. ^ Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 3, 1998," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  45. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  46. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  47. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  48. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  49. ^ Office of the California Secretary of State "United States Representative in Congress," (retrieved on August 2nd, 2009).
  50. ^ "Statement of Vote, November 6, 2012 General Election". Secretary of State of California. December 14, 2012. Retrieved June 19, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ron Dellums
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 7th congressional district

1975–2013
Succeeded by
Ami Bera
Preceded by
redistricted
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 11th congressional district

2013–2015
Succeeded by
Mark DeSaulnier
Elect
Preceded by
Mo Udall
Chairperson of the House Natural Resources Committee
1991–1995
Succeeded by
Don Young
Preceded by
Buck McKeon
Chairperson of the House Education Committee
2007–2011
Succeeded by
John Kline
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rob Andrews
Chairperson of House Democratic Policy Committee
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Donna Edwards
Designate
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Don Young
United States Representatives by seniority
5th
Succeeded by
Henry Waxman