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 began her career working in her family’s marina business on the Clinton River during difficult economic times which helped her understand how to create jobs in the private sector and meet a payroll.
A Call to Serve
In the late 1970′s Candice was concerned that America had veered of course. During this period of double digit inflation, double digit interest rates and double digit unemployment, Candice Miller believed there was a need for new conservative leadership to step forward in government to help give every individual a better opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
In 1979 Candice Miller began to fight against big government by joining with others in her community to rescind an unfair local tax that was destroying jobs. She won that fight and was urged to enter public service by many in her community. She answered that call and was elected to a vacancy on the Harrison Township Board of Trustees. In that role she fought against high taxes which were killing jobs and forcing seniors to out of their homes. 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, believed we needed to bring a new conservative approach to government that better served the taxpayers. This 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, solving problems quickly and in 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. She understood that a balance could be achieved that allowed for a growing economy while protecting our quality of life. 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 while improving property values and enhancing the community.
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.
In this role she enhanced her well earned reputation as a reformer of dysfunctional government. The status quo was not good enough for Candice Miller. She understood that government has a duty to change in order to give the taxpayers the greatest benefit for their tax dollar.
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. The Secretary of State is a unit of government that interacts with nearly every taxpayer in the state, yet it had become inefficient and out of the touch with the needs of its customers. Long lines had become the norm needlessly costing taxpayers and businesses countless hours to do simple transactions. She immediately set out once again to change the status quo.
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 tamper proof 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 Michigan 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 worked with Michigan law enforcement officials to enact tough laws to target drunk drivers, particularly repeat drunk drivers, and those who continue to drive on suspended or revoked licenses. She targeted these drivers because of the carnage they had been causing on Michigan roadways. She understood that no Michigan driver should have to deal with these lethal threats on our roadways. 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 more innocent lives saved on our roadways.
As Secretary of State, Candice Miller served as Michigan’s Chief Elections Officer. In that role she became a recognized leader in how to run free and fair elections. She built the statewide Qualified Voter File, QVF, which was 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 requires 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.
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 sale of this plate has raised millions of dollars 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.
United States House of Representatives
After completing her very successful two terms as Michigan’s Secretary of State, Candice Miller was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 2002.
She understands that the first and foremost responsibility is to provide for our national defense, in fact that is in the Pre-Amble of our Constitution. She has always given the strongest possible support for those who preserve our freedom by serving in the United States military. She believes that in order to preserve liberty that our forces must be the best equipped, best trained and strongest fighting force in the world. She also led the fight to maintain Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan last remaining substantial military facility, open during the most recent round of base closures. Not only was Selfridge kept open, but it was given important missions that allows those who serve there to continue in vital roles to protect our nation in the global war against America’s terrorist enemies.
She also has worked hard to ensure that those who have borne the battle in defense of freedom receive the benefits they are due. She believes strongly that this nation must honor our veterans and has been unwavering in her support.
Candice Miller also believes that the security of our nation begins with securing our borders. As the Ranking Republican on the Border Sub-Committee of the House Homeland Security Committee she has been a tireless advocate to make our borders secure, including our Northern Border. To accomplish this she has helped to expand the presence of homeland security assets at Selfridge Air National Guard Base including a Northern Border Air Wing of the Customs and Border Protection Service. These assets will work closely with other federal agencies and local law enforcement to fight against drug trafficking across our border, the smuggling of illegal aliens and other criminal activities that threaten our community.
The 10th Congressional District is also home to the Blue Water Bridge, the second busiest border crossing on our Northern Border, and the CN Rail Tunnel, the busiest rail entry into our nation. The security of these two entries into our nation is vital to our national security and our economy and Candice Miller has been a forceful advocate for both.
Candice Miller also serves on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been a forceful advocate to for Michigan’s needs. She helped to close the funding gap that Michigan receives in federal gas tax revenue in the most recent re-authorization of that important legislation and continues to fight to ensure that Michigan gets its fair share of funding to support local needs.
This committee also has jurisdiction over many water quality issues that impact the Great Lakes, the protection of which has been a primary advocacy during her entire career in public service. She has helped to pass important new laws and regulations that protect against invasive species that threaten our lakes. She also has helped to secure funding to implement a real-time water quality monitoring system that operates in conjunction with local units of government. This system monitors our waters every 15 minutes and is a vital first alert warning system allowing water officials to quickly shut down intake pipes when potentially dangerous pollutants are found. This is vital because the water in-take pipes on the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair provide the drinking water for millions of people in Southeast Michigan. This system also helps to pinpoint where pollution comes from making it easier to find the source and punish the polluters.
She has also been on the front lines in the fight against the Asian Carp. This invasive species is a direct threat to our Great Lakes ecosystem and our economy and must be stopped. She is an original co-sponsor of the CARP Act which would take dramatic steps to stop the Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes. She will continue to fight to make certain our lakes are protected.
Candice Miller is also fighting out of control federal spending. She opposed the $700 billion Wall Street Bailout, the $800 billion economic stimulus plan that has not delivered promised jobs, the Obama-Pelosi budgets that have run deficits in excess of $1.4 trillion each of the past two years and the increases in our federal debt ceiling by $3 trillion in last two years. She believes that it is simply immoral to continue piling more debt on our children, grandchildren and future generations.
She opposes job killing proposals that would expand the reach of government and trample on individual freedom. That is why she opposed the government takeover of health care which would place onerous new taxes on job providers and individuals. This sweeping new law also does little to control exploding healthcare costs which is where Candice Miller believes any health reform should be focused. The new law is also at odds with our Constitutional freedoms because for the first time in history it would require an individual to purchase a product from the private sector or face federal government penalties. Candice Miller has signed on to legislation to repeal this law so that we can start over with a market based approach that would actually lower costs and increase access while at the same time costing taxpayers very little.
She also opposed the Cap and Trade carbon tax proposal because if this bill were to pass it would devastate Michigan families and our economy. Our state derives fully 2/3 of its electricity from coal and a new tax on carbon would force electricity rates in Michigan to skyrocket for families and job providers. It also does nothing to promote clean energy sources like nuclear power that would not only help reduce costs, but would also create jobs. This bill also hits Michigan’s two biggest industries, manufacturing and agriculture, with enormous new costs putting our already struggling economy at further risk.
Candice Miller supports a sensible “all of the above” energy strategy that would help reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy and reduce costs to help our economy grow.
Candice Miller believes it is time to restrain the growth of government and bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. She has fought for these principles throughout her career and will continue to do so into the future.
Candice Miller lives in Harrison Township with her husband, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Donald Miller. Her husband also served for 25 years in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard as a fighter pilot. He served our nation in combat in Vietnam and also as the base commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. They have one daughter.