Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Miller visits lighthouse, pushes water agenda

by Candice Miller on October 14, 2014

 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 7:12 am | Updated: 7:31 am, Wed Oct 8, 2014.

By Chris Aldridge Tribune Staff Writer

http://www.michigansthumb.com/news/local/article_fd8a6e62-4edb-11e4-84c8-0302e166a99f.html

HURON COUNTY — Seeking her seventh term as a U.S. representative in November’s general election, Congresswoman Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, toured the Thumb coastline on Tuesday.

Miller, who represents Huron, Lapeer, Macomb, St. Clair, Sanilac and Tuscola counties, made stops in Harbor Beach, Port Austin and the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse.

After a brief tour of the Lighthouse County Park museum, which showcases some of the 105 shipwrecks that occurred around the area, Miller spoke fondly of preserving maritime history, and later of her current term and future plans.

“We cannot lose it,” she said of the history. “We have 123 lighthouses in Michigan, more than any other state.”

As for the Thumb and her six-county district, Miller said one of her most significant contributions this term as a representative is helping to establish the Great Lakes Navigation System Sustainability Act, introduced in the House last June.

“It will accrue very positively, in terms of federal focus, attention and resources for dredging projects, harbor development (and) water quality,” Miller said. “It was a priority legislation for me.”

Miller said manufacturing, agriculture and the Great Lakes remain as the biggest focus areas in the six-county district.

But a recent issue attracting local and national attention is Ontario Power Generation’s plan to store radioactive waste 2,200 feet underground and within a mile of the Lake Huron shoreline. U.S. lawmakers have urged the federal government to step in, and Miller said she’s been in contact with her Canadian counterparts. Discussion is ongoing in both countries.

“Let’s be honest. They are a sovereign nation; we don’t control Canada,” she said. “Canadians look across the lake at us and say ‘Why haven’t you done anything about your own nuclear waste?’ … It’s really for both countries to work together in protecting the Great Lakes.”

For farmers and Huron County — which ranks top in the state for total value of agricultural products sold, according to the USDA’s 2012 census of agriculture — the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to redefine regulation of the country’s waterways has caught flak. Critics say the proposal will amount to overregulation of anything from rivers to small puddles, and interfere with farmers’ ability to operate.

Miller penned a letter of opposition to the EPA and has spoken on the House floor regarding the issue. She said she is still waiting to see a response from EPA Director Gina McCarthy. The EPA has extended a public comment period on the matter until Oct. 20.

In her next term, Miller said she would focus on “simplifying the tax code and making it fair.”

“The one thing we can do to grow the economy is do tax reform,” she said. “The average person can’t even fill out their own taxes anymore, much less a business. Our corporate tax rate is the highest in the world … it puts a big damper on our ability to grow the economy.”

Other than that, she said, she’ll continue to follow the “less government regulation is better” notion.

And then there are the national concerns.

Miller, vice chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the committee has principal oversight of the Secret Service. She said there will be a hearing on the agency’s handling of a recent White House breach, in which 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez hopped a fence and darted across the lawn.

“I think it was the right thing to do for (Secret Service Director Julia Pierson) to resign,” Miller said. “(Secret Service staff) are unbelievable professional individuals, but they’ve have had some incidents that are totally unacceptable. You can’t have the commander in chief exposed like

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