Harrison Township, Michigan , United States
|| May 07, 1954
Oct 25, 2013 11:40am
|Info||Candice Miller was born in 1954 and has been a lifelong resident of Macomb County. She is a graduate of Lakeshore High School and attended both Macomb Community College and Northwood University. She worked in the marina business on the Clinton River that her family owned for several years before she became involved in public service. |
A Call to Public Service
In the late 1970's she was concerned by the leadership crisis in America. During this period of double digit inflation, double digit interest rates and double digit unemployment, Candice Miller believed it was a time for new conservative leadership to step forward and provide new ideas that would allow every individual to achieve the American Dream.
In 1979 Candice Miller decided to enter public service and was elected to a vacancy on the Harrison Township Board of Trustees. In that role she fought against high taxes that were destroying business in her community, taking away jobs and forcing seniors to sell because they could not afford the taxes. She became a leader that was respected for working with all sides to solve problems and improve the community.
In 1980 she joined the Reagan Revolution in Macomb County and America. In that year she ran for Harrison Township Supervisor and won, becoming the youngest Supervisor in her township's history and the first woman ever elected to the post. She, like President Reagan, courted Conservative Democrats who saw the opportunity to bring a new approach to government, these people became known as the 'Reagan Democrats'. Their success was based on the idea that America's best days weren't behind us, as many had said, but lay ahead. Their conservative approach to government called for lower taxes, a strong economy, hard work and getting government out of the way so that individuals could succeed.
Harrison Township Supervisor
Candice Miller took this conservative approach to her job as Harrison Township Supervisor and she had many achievements. She balanced 12 straight budgets, improved police and fire protection, and enhanced other vital municipal services, all of this while lowering the overall tax burden on her constituents. She was also on the front lines when problems occurred. Making sure that the problems were solved quickly and the most efficient manner.
Under her leadership the township became very active in the preservation of the environment. She led the fight for a Tree Preservation Ordinance and worked with developers to preserve wetlands while also growing the economy. She also was instrumental in building the first ever bike/hike trail in Macomb County along Metro Parkway extending to Metro Beach. This allows thousands each year to enjoy the beauty of Harrison Township and has led to the building of similar trails throughout the area.
During her 12 years as Supervisor, Harrison Township underwent explosive growth and her effort to hold the line on taxes allowed many businesses to flourish and create thousands of jobs for area residents.
Macomb County Treasurer
In 1992 Candice Miller saw an opportunity to make changes on behalf of all the people of Macomb County and ran for County Treasurer. She defeated a 24 year incumbent and became the first Republican to win county wide office in Macomb County in half a century.
She inherited an office that was stuck in the past, not using new technology or methods that would give the taxpayers the greatest benefit of their tax dollar. She made dramatic changes that accomplished those goals and was praised for her strong fiduciary efforts. She also helped to protect the county pension fund and ensured that retirees received their full benefit.
Secretary of State
In 1994 she saw an opportunity to make needed changes for all the citizens of Michigan and ran for Secretary of State. She ran against the 24 year incumbent and won, becoming the first women to ever be elected in a partisan statewide office in her own right and the first Republican to serve as Secretary of State in over 40 years.
In that office she had many of the same challenges she faced as Macomb County Treasurer. She inherited an office that had failed to use new technology to improve services for the people. In fact, in a statewide operation that was based greatly on paper, there was not one copy machine or fax machine in a single branch office. She set about to make changes immediately.
As Secretary of State, she made customer service the operative phrase of her administration. During her first term she visited every branch office in the state so that she could get a first hand look at what was happening on the front lines. Those visits became the impetus for wholesale changes to modernize and redesign branch office and streamline transactions for millions of Michigan drivers.
She used technology to expand customer service options, offering license plate and watercraft registration renewals by mail, fax, touch tone telephone and the Internet. In fact, under her leadership, the Department of State became the first state agency to be interactive with the people via the Internet.
Candice Miller also developed a new digital driver license, offered Michigan motorists a wide variety of new license plates, including fundraising plates that raise money for state universities and other important causes.
She has also become a recognized leader in traffic safety. Under her leadership the state has implemented an innovative driver training program which ensures that our youngest drivers are ready for the challenges of Michigan roadways. The results of this effort have been a sharp decline the crash statistics for young Michigan drivers and lives saved. She also led the fight to enact tough new laws that target drivers who continue to drive drunk or on suspended or revoked licenses. Her message was clear, if you continue to drive drunk or drive on a suspended license you are going to be separated from your vehicle and if you still continue to drive, you are going to jail. The result again has been a decline in the crash rates for these types of drivers and lives saved on our roadways.
As Secretary of State, Candice Miller serves as Michigan's Chief Elections Officer. In that role she has become a recognized leader in how to run free and fair elections. She built a statewide Qualified Voter File, QVF, which has been hailed by the Ford/Carter Commission on National Election Reform as a model for the nation. She also instituted the Michigan Electronic Reporting and Tracking System, MERTS, which allows state candidates to file disclosure reports electronically. This allows the people of Michigan an opportunity to see quickly who is financially supporting their elected officials and candidates.
Candice Miller has also been a leader in the fight to protect personal privacy. She fought for legislation that allowed her to stop the sale of state lists for the purposes of marketing or solicitations which would keep junk mail out of people's mailboxes. She also fought the Federal Government on a new requirement that forced her to collect individual's Social Security numbers when applying for a driver license.
After the terrorist attacks on our nation on September 11th, Candice Miller, like public officials across America, took a look at everything the Department could do to prevent future attacks. She made a proposal that every person who applied for a Commercial Driver License with a hazardous materials endorsement be subject to criminal background checks. This provision eventually was integrated into the President's U.S. Patriot Act. She has also been leading the fight for legislation to deny a Michigan Driver License to illegal aliens, something that, unbelievably, is required by state law.
In addition, she worked with legislators from both parties to create the Proud to Be American fundraising license plate that features our state and the American Flag. The proceeds from this plate have already raised over $750,000 for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army for disaster relief efforts.
Candice Miller also seized the opportunity to assist those who were awaiting organ transplants. When she took office the Michigan Organ Donor Registry contained just 16,000 names while there were thousands more awaiting transplants. Through a partnership with the Gift of Life, a leading organ donation advocacy group, she has developed an innovative awareness program that has grown the registry to over 500,000 names, with the list growing every day.
Candice Miller still lives in Harrison Township with her husband, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Donald Miller. In addition to being a judge, her husband also served for 25 years in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard as a fighter pilot. He had a tour of duty in Vietnam and also served as the base commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. They have one daughter, Wendy, who also lives in Macomb County and is a member of the United Auto Workers.
Candice Miller's career has been built upon a commitment to family, to community and to serve the people with integrity. Her career has been marked by getting things done for the people and not focusing on narrow partisan fights. These are the values that she will take with her to the United States House of Representatives.