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Carol Miller: Committees yield broad base of info

Oct. 14, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Every time I hear a political campaign ad on the television, I am tempted to hit the mute button. This is a terrible thing to admit, but I am so frustrated with the environment that has been perpetuated by candidates and special interest groups alike. What has happened to our respect for one another?

We have one more month to listen to people dissemble and misrepresent the truth about each other. As a candidate, I too have been a target of such ads. Years ago, my opponents attempted to portray me as a person who wanted the people of West Virginia to have to choose between buying their medicine or putting food on the table, or that I wanted everyone to have nasty polluted water.... Really?

It is truly an honor to serve people in the Legislature. I take my position as an elected official as a sacred duty, bestowed upon me (and others) to represent constituents to the fullest degree possible. I sing in your choirs, come to your meetings year round, participate in your chili cook-offs, stand with you in your endeavors. You have become like family to me and enriched my life tremendously.

I have spent six years establishing good working relationships with other delegates and senators. As your delegate, I have been fortunate to serve on three of the four major committees, Government Organization, Judiciary and Finance. I serve on the Agriculture Committee, the Health and Human Resource Committee, and am minority vice chair of the Energy, Industry and Labor Committee. During the interim meetings, I also serve on the Infrastructure Committee.

This has given me the opportunity to have a broad base of information at hand. It is information that helps to make good decisions on legislation that is presented. In order to fully understand the impact of a "bill," I try to walk in the shoes of those it will affect. I take a hands-on approach to governing. As minority vice chair of Energy, Industry and Labor, I was one who requested that our committee go into a working coal mine so we could better understand and protect our coal miners. When you put on the clothing and safety gear of a coal miner, and ride down two miles into the earth on a "mantrip" vehicle, you have a greater appreciation of what it takes to keep the lights on.

We have nearly 3,000 bills introduced each year! Thank goodness less than 300 ever make it out of the body of the Legislature and then to the governor. In many cases, it is my duty to protect you and your families from too much legislation. If I can run interference in bad legislation, I am doing my job! There are times when a bill may sound good, and yet be filled with parts that are just too over-reaching or detrimental to your rights as an individual. If I have an issue with a bill, it is better to just say NO than to go with the status quo and vote yes, just because it has hit the House floor for a vote. Not all legislation is good legislation.

The Legislature is made up of people from all walks of life, professional backgrounds, genders, age groups, etc. District 16 has a distinctive dynamic in that it goes from rural areas of Cabell and Lincoln counties, to the urban confines of the cities, a major university area, and good old-fashioned neighborhoods. There are five candidates on the ballot for this district. You have the choice of selecting three candidates to represent you, and I would appreciate your vote.

As a bison farmer, property manager, wife, mother, grandmother and the only female running in this district, I bring a unique perspective to be your voice in the Legislature. Your issues will continue to be my issues.

Carol Miller, a resident of Huntington, is a Republican candidate for the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 16th District.

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