Howard Mills III
38th Superintendent of Insurance
|Born||May 29, 1964 (age 51)
Goshen, New York
Howard D. Mills III (born May 29, 1964, in Goshen, New York) is an insurance consultant and former politician from Goshen, New York. He served as New York's Superintendent of Insurance from 2005 to 2007, and previously held elective office in both the New York State Assembly and the Town of Wallkill.
Early life and education
The Mills family were prominent farmers in Orange County for 200 years. Mills' father, Howard Mills, Jr., became a real estate developer who converted most of the farmland into residential and business developments. One large parcel of property owned by the Mills family was the original proposed site of the Woodstock Festival in 1969. The site was moved to adjacent Sullivan County when local residents objected to holding the festival in the Town of Wallkill.
Mills graduated from Pine Bush High School. He attended Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, graduating in 1986 with a degree in political science, and from American University in 1988 with a master's degree in public administration. While studying at American University, Mills was first a student intern and then a full-time staff member to Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman of New York, his own Congressman.
He worked as a business consultant to the telecommunications industry and was the business development and public relations officer for the Myles Financial Services Group in Florida, New York, while a member of the Wallkill Town Board.
Mills is a major in the New York Guard, a state militia organization. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Mills was briefly called to active duty and later awarded the New York State Defense of Liberty Medal.
He is married to the former Erin Rice; they have two sons and one daughter.
Early political career
At age 24, Mills won a seat on the Wallkill Town Board. and served two two-year terms, following which he was elected Town supervisor, a job he held from 1993 until 1998, when he was elected to the New York State Assembly. As Supervisor, Mills lowered taxes, improved the Town's bond rating, oversaw a landfill closure, three major bridge replacements and a town-wide road improvement program. Mills served for six years in the New York State Assembly after being elected in 1998. He served as the Deputy Minority Leader, sat on the Banking, Housing, Insurance and Ways and Means Committees, and was a member of the Armed Forces Legislative Caucus. He has been described as pro-choice (albeit opposed to "late term abortions"), "pro-Second Amendment", and a "moderate" on social issues.
In 2001, three years after Mills left his post as supervisor, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued the town in federal court, accusing the police department of petty corruption, civil liberties violations, and harassment. The town entered into an agreement with the state, dismissed the police chief, agreed to the appointment of an overseer and accepted a lengthy code of conduct laid out by the state. The police chief, James Coscette, had been appointed by Mills and unanimously confirmed by the Town Board.
Did we collect specific evidence that this was going on when Howard Mills was supervisor? No, but we didn't need to go that far back. However, having done a lot of these investigations, the kinds of problems that we saw are not the kinds of problems that spring up overnight. They are the kinds of problems that fester for years and years, and so I would be very surprised if these problems had not been going on for many years, back through several administrations, including his.—Mark Peters, Chief Investigator, New York State Attorney General's Office, January 19, 2001.
2004 campaign for U.S. Senate
In 2004 he dropped a bid for a fourth Assembly term in order to run against Charles Schumer for the U.S. Senate. He was considered a "sacrificial lamb" from the outset of the campaign. He was nominated by the State Republican Committee after its fallout with the conservative front-runner Michael Benjamin, who had a significant advantage to Mills in both fund raising and campaign volunteers. Mills was denied the nomination of the Conservative Party of New York State over the abortion issue. He faced considerable difficulty raising money and getting name recognition. He raised only $600,000 for the race, while Schumer's campaign amassed over $24 million. In the November election, as anticipated, Mills lost. His was the most lopsided contest for statewide office in New York State history, garnering 24% of the vote to Schumer's 71%. Marilyn O'Grady of the Conservative Party received 4%. Mills lost his own Assembly district, winning only Hamilton County, the least-populated and most Republican county in the state. Mills conceded the race minutes after polls closed and before any votes were counted.
New York Superintendent of Insurance
In 2005, Mills was appointed by Governor George Pataki as the New York State Superintendent of Insurance, making him the state's top regulator of that industry. Mills signed landmark settlement agreements with the world’s largest insurer as well as three prominent U.S. insurance brokers, secured auto rate premium reductions, was involved in securing an extension of the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) through the end of 2007, and within the Insurance Department itself, created a Corporate Practices Unit within the agency’s Office of General Counsel.
After a New York Post article revealed that Mills had maintained his Assembly campaign account and continued raising funds while Insurance Superintendent, using them for purposes such as paying for a luxury car, dining out and purchasing gifts, Governor Pataki publicly chastised Mills' conduct. He served until 2007, when he reentered the private sector and became Chief Advisor, Insurance Industry Group, Deloitte & Touche USA.
Mills was seriously considering entering New York's 19th congressional district election, 2008, against freshman incumbent John Hall. Although Hall was targeted by National Republican Congressional Committee, they struggled to find a top tier candidate, and Mills' backers believed that he was up to the task. However, in late 2007, Mills issued a press release stating he was not interested in running for congress.
|U.S. Senate (class 3) from New York, 2004|
|Democratic||Chuck Schumer (I)||4,769,824||70.6%||Democrat hold|
|Republican||Howard Mills III||1,625,069||24.6%|
|Conservative||Marilyn F. O'Grady||220,960||3.4%|
|Builders Party||Abe Hirschfeld||16,196||0.2%|
|Socialist Workers||Martin Koppel||14,811||0.2%|
- Tiber, Elliot. "How Woodstock Happened... Part 2, Discoverynet, reprinted from The Times Herald-Record, Woodstock Commemorative Edition (1994)
- "Official Biography - Howard Mills III - Superintendent". New York State Insurance Department. Retrieved on January 25, 2007.
- Slackman, Michael.3 "Weeks Out, Refrain in Senate Race Is Still, Howard Who?". New York Times. October 11, 2004.
- "Governor Pataki announces new Insurance Superintendent". Greater New York Council of Insurance Brokers. December 24, 2004.
- Celock, John. "Mills Mulling Run Against Hall". City Hall News. November 27, 2007.
- "People of the State of New York v The Town of Wallkill". United States District Court, Southern District of New York. January 17, 2007. Retrieved from Times Herald-Record article entitled "Text of the attorney general's complaint" on February 29, 2008.
- Hegedus, Nathan. "Wallkill cops face Spitzer's scrutiny". Times Herald-Record. January 17, 2001.
- Herbert, Bob. "In America; Police Predators". New York Times. January 25, 2001.
- "False arrest claim set for trial". Times Herald-Record. March 1, 2003.
- Barry, Dan. "Seeing Lawless Police Behavior, State Files Civil Rights Complaint Against Small Town". New York Times. January 19, 2001.
- "Key dates in Wallkill police controversy". Times Herald-Record. January 19, 2007.
- "Senate hopeful claims GOP bosses snubbed him". Albany Times-Union, February 25, 2004.
- Humbert, Mark. Major Parties to Anoint their Senate Combatants. Associated Press. May 15, 2004.
- Remember Senate 2004, November 20, 2005.
- 2004 New York Senate Race. The Center for Responsive Politics. December 31, 2004.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth. "Odds and Ends". Albany Times-Union. December 27, 2006.
- Levensohn, Michael. "Mills to take job with financial firm when he leaves as state Insurance head". Times Herald-Record. December 27, 2006.
- James, Alexa. "Mills mulling run against John Hall". Times Herald-Record. November 29, 2007.
- Benjamin, Elizabeth. "Mills: Don't Believe The Hype". New York Daily News. November 29, 2007.
- "NYS Board of Elections United States Senator Election Returns". New York State Board of Elections. Retrieved on February 29, 2008.
|New York Assembly|
|New York State Assembly, 95th District
|New York State Assembly, 97th District
|Party political offices|
|Republican nominee for U.S. Senate (class 3) from New York
Gregory V. Serio
|New York State Superintendent of Insurance
Eric R. Dinallo