Rep. Gary Miller (R)
Elected: 1998, 6th term.
Born: Oct. 16, 1948, Huntsville, AR .
Home: Diamond Bar.
Education: Mt. San Antonio Col. 1971, 1988-89.
Family: Married (Cathy); 4 children.
Military career: Army, 1967.
Elected office: Diamond Bar City Cncl., 1989-95; Diamond Bar Mayor, 1992; CA Assembly, 1995-98.
Professional Career: Businessman, real estate developer, G. Miller Development Co., 1971-98.
The congressman from the 42nd District is Gary Miller, a Republican first elected in 1998. He was born in Arkansas, but grew up in Whittier. In his early 20s, he became a home builder and later developed planned communities. He is among the wealthiest members of the House. He began his public service in 1988, when he was appointed to the Diamond Bar Municipal Advisory Council. A year later, after Diamond Bar was incorporated, Miller was elected to the City Council and served as mayor. In 1995, he was elected to the California Assembly in a special election. After chairing the Assembly’s Budget Committee, he decided in 1997 to run for the U.S. House against scandal-tarred incumbent Republican Jay Kim. Kim and his wife had pleaded guilty to accepting and concealing $230,000 in illegal campaign contributions. In March 1998, Kim was sentenced to house arrest, confined to the House and his apartment in suburban Virginia, and required to wear an electronic bracelet around his ankle for two months. As a result, he could not campaign back home. Miller emphasized standard Republican themes—lower taxes, tougher penalties for crime, improved local education—and financed his campaign largely with his own money. Miller won the all-party primary with 48% to 26% for Kim. Democrats did not pose a serious challenge in November.
|Gary Miller (R)||158,404||(60%)||($325,244)|
|Edwin Chau (D)||104,909||(40%)||($347,351)|
|Gary Miller (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (100%), 2004 (68%), 2002 (68%), 2000 (59%), 1998 (53%)
Since then, Miller has come under scrutiny for questionable ethics himself. Several of his land deals have been investigated by the media and by the Justice Department. One involved Miller’s sale of 165 acres to the city of Monrovia, Calif. According to several published reports, he made $10 million on the deal, then avoided paying capital-gains taxes by claiming the land had been threatened by an eminent-domain action by Monrovia. In another case, he got a $1.28 million earmark in an appropriations bill to improve streets in front of development property he co-owned in the town of Diamond Bar. Miller has maintained that he did nothing wrong and that he was the victim of a smear campaign by Democrats.
Miller, who has a conservative voting record in the House, has advanced some original proposals. He sponsored anti-spam legislation in the California Assembly long before spam became a notorious problem. In Congress, he sponsored a bill giving Internet service providers a cause of action against spammers, with $500 per message in penalties. A Civil War buff, Miller sponsored a bill to preserve Civil War battlefields after discovering that nearly 20% of the major battle sites have been lost. He won approval of matching grants for local governments and nonprofit organizations to preserve battle sites.
On the Financial Services Committee, he used his familiarity with development to focus on affordable-housing programs. He also won House passage of amendments for additional funding of brownfield redevelopment. He was active on legislation to address the mortgage crisis and sought to increase the maximum mortgage-loan limits for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in high-cost areas such as California. In 2008, he joined a bipartisan effort to revive a program that allowed sellers of properties to provide down-payment assistance to borrowers participating in the federal mortgage-insurance program
Democrats talked about trying to unseat Miller in 2008 in light of his ethics troubles. But they failed to put up much of a fight. Miller won easily, 60%-40%, over Montebello lawyer and school-board member Ed Chau in a low-budget contest. He suffered two personal tragedies in 2007. His 33-year-old daughter died for reasons that were not made public, and the children of one of his sons were abducted by their mother after a bitter custody dispute.