Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Miller speaks out at Tea Party meeting

by Candice Miller on January 30, 2012

Published: Friday, January 27, 2012 10:49 PM EST
Miller speaks out at Tea Party meeting
Tribune Staff Writer
CASS CITY — Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller’s to-do list on Thursday included meetings with Tuscola County officials during the day and a stop at the Thumb TEA Party meeting in the evening.
Because of redistricting, Miller now represents most of Tuscola County. The district also includes Huron, Lapeer, St. Clair and Sanilac counties, along with northern Macomb County.
Miller said she’s looking forward to representing Tuscola County and she wanted to introduce herself to those who didn’t know her well.
“What you see is what you get,” Miller said at the Thumb TEA Party meeting at Evangelical Free Church in Cass City. “I’m not the glitziest person, but I work hard. … No matter how much you have, at the end of the day, all you have is your reputation.”
She said during the recent State of the Union address by President Barack Obama, she couldn’t help but think about when Obama was inaugurated and how many people there were at the event. She said she remembers the feeling of optimism people had at that time. Since then, the optimism has decreased and people are frustrated. Said she understands the frustration.
“It’s a clash of ideology,” she said of the gridlock between the Republicans and Democrats.
She gave “Obamacare” as an example, which is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law in March 2010. She noted 37 state attorney generals have sued over this act, believing it is unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court will make a decision in June, Miller said.
Miller also said when Obama originally presented his ideas about economic stimulus packages, she liked the concept. However, by the time the stimulus package was put in place, it didn’t come close to resembling the original ideas she heard.
The frustrations people are feeling have led to the forming of groups like the TEA party, Miller said.
“They believe our country has veered off on a different path than what they wanted the country to be on,” she said.
Miller said because the Republicans have taken over the majority in the U.S. House, there has been a change in the culture in Washington, D.C. She said the focus has been switched to how much should be cut from the federal budget, not how much should be spent.
She talked about her work on the Majority Transition Committee, which reviews all House procedures and structures. The committee is working to find additional ways to reform Congress so that it is more transparent, cost-effective and accountable to the people, she said.
This includes the Republican Pledge to America, which sets forth a plan to reform Congress and begin restoring the public trust. The reforms include a requirement that legislation be available online for three days before a vote so that members of Congress and the American people can read a bill; a requirement that all bills include a citation of constitutional authority so that Congress respects the limits imposed on it by our founding document; changes to House rules to make it more difficult to increase spending and easier to cut it, and an end to the practice of passing “comprehensive” or “omnibus” bills that package unrelated legislation together in an effort to avoid public scrutiny.
Miller said the House has acted on a number of items the Democrat-led Senate has not taken up, such as a repeal of Obamacare, energy exploration and a budget that included $6 trillion in cuts.
She shared her concern about raising the national debt ceiling and borrowing money. She said for every dollar the federal government spends, 42 cents is borrowed.
“That is unsustainable,” she said.
Miller noted her disappointment with the balanced budget amendment not passing the House. A total of 261 members voted for the measure — 23 votes shy of the two-thirds majority required for passage — while 165 members opposed it.
“Most states have balanced budget amendments — they work,” she said.
Miller believes one is greatly needed for the U.S. government.
“It’s the only way to restrain our spending,” she said.
Miller also discussed her interest in finding more energy sources within the U.S., rather than depending on foreign sources. She said she supports the building of clean coal plants and nuclear plants. She also supports expanding alternative energy sources.
Appointed to the House Homeland Security Committee in March 2008, Miller also discussed border security. She is the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security. She said a lot of focus is on southern border issues, but she said the country’s northern border also faces security challenges. She said, for instance, the Ambassador Bridge and the Blue Water Bridge are the busiest and second busiest, respectively, commercial border crossings on the northern tier. The CN Rail Tunnel is the busiest rail artery in the U.S.
She said the Selfridge Air National Guard Base has expanding missions in the area of homeland security.
Miller answered several questions from the audience, including one about the state economy.
“Despite the challenges the state is facing, I feel very optimistic about what will happen in Michigan,” she said.
Miller, who lives in Macomb County’s Harrison Township, is serving her fifth term in Congress. She is running for reelection this year. She started her public service in 1979, when she was elected to the Harrison Township Board of Trustees. Only one year later, she was elected Harrison Township supervisor, becoming the youngest supervisor in her township’s history and the first woman elected to the post.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Miller served two terms as Michigan’s Secretary of State from 1994 to 2002.
In addition to the House Homeland Security Committee, Miller serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The Thumb TEA Party meets at 6:30 p.m. the fourth Thursday of each month at Evangelical Free Church, 6430 Chestnut Blvd. in Cass City.
The Huron County TEA Party is hosting a meeting at 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Pigeon District Library, located on the corner of South Main and Nitz streets in Pigeon.

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