Congressman George Miller is the Senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and a leading advocate in Congress on education, labor, the economy, and the environment. First elected in 1975, he now represents the 11th District of California in the East Bay of San Francisco, including the majority of Contra Costa County. A principal author of major laws affecting America’s education system, labor and health policy, and the protection of natural resources, Miller announced in January this year that he will not seek a 21st term in the House this fall. Miller is among the 50th consecutive longest serving members of Congress in history, out of more than 10,000 members.
Miller’s expansive congressional career has been marked by a tenacious pursuit of a quality education for children from all backgrounds and economic opportunity for the working poor and middle class. He has served as chairman of three committees: the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families (1983-1992), the Committee on Natural Resources (1992-1994), the Committee on Education and Labor (2007-2010), and is the co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, a leadership position. He has used each of these positions to advance his policy priorities and highlight inequities in the federal budget.
Miller’s top priorities in Congress involve education and economic growth. He has long worked to ensure that all students have access to the skills, supports and knowledge to succeed in our economy and our society. And he is fighting to grow and strengthen America’s middle class, including stimulating economic growth that creates good American jobs. This congress, he has been working to forge a bi-partisan compromise to reauthorize federal k-12 education law, ensure that the historic Affordable Care Act that he co-wrote is fully implemented, raise the minimum wage, and provide meaningful student aid programs to every eligible student.
Miller has fought to maintain the purchasing power of the minimum wage throughout his career. In the 2006 elections, Democrats ran on a platform of six priorities that Miller helped to craft, including a hike in the minimum wage that had not been increased for nearly ten years. Miller wrote the bill and led its passage along with Sen. Kennedy (D-MA), to raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour in three steps. A Democratic Congress passed the bill and President Bush signed it into law. Miller is now leading legislation, with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), to raise the wage to $10.10 an hour, again in three steps. The legislation would also index the minimum wage for the first time, to ensure it keeps pace with inflation, and it would increase the minimum wage for tipped workers for the first time since 1991.
An aggressive and unapologetic investigator in defense of taxpayers and the health and safety of children and workers, Miller has successfully challenged asbestos executives, for-profit colleges, subsidized agribusiness, mining corporations, oil companies, boot camps for troubled youth, and Administration officials of both parties. He is well known for sticking with issues over the long haul and engaging directly with the people most affected by the policies under consideration, such as mineworker families, fishermen, teachers and children, garment workers, seniors, and experts from across the country in the fields of education, labor and the environment. The Nation magazine recently named Miller the 2013 “Most Valuable Member of the House” for his work on the minimum wage, food stamps, garment worker safety, and fair trade policy.
Miller was born in Richmond, CA, on May 17, 1945 and lives in Martinez. He graduated from Diablo Valley Community College, San Francisco State University, and earned his law degree from the University of California, Davis, Law School. He served on the staff of then-State Senate Majority Leader George Moscone in Sacramento. He is married to Cynthia Caccavo Miller, a life-long resident of Contra Costa County. They have two sons, George and Stephen, and six grandchildren.
Updated March 2014