Miller seeks second term

Published 10:43 pm Saturday, November 5, 2011

Incumbent Sen. John Miller is seeking a second term representing the First District in the General Assembly. He is being challenged by Mickey Chohany.

Only Suffolk’s Harbour View precinct will vote in the race for First District, which also includes parts of Newport News, Williamsburg, and James City and York counties. The North Suffolk precinct is a newcomer to the First District after the statewide redistricting process.

“I decided to run again, because there’s still a great deal to be done in the areas of education, improving transportation, strengthening families and helping our veterans,” the Democrat said. “I have been able to accomplish a great deal, but I realize there are still some issues that need to be addressed.”

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On the education front, Miller plans to submit legislation that will eliminate the history and science Standards of Learning tests in the third grade. The recommendation is based on a study that showed 95 percent of students who passed third-grade reading tests went on to pass them in fifth grade, but if they failed in third grade, there was only a 50/50 chance they would be successful later.

“We need to eliminate the third-grade SOLs in history and science,” he said. “That’s too many tests. Let’s spend all the time in the third grade concentrating on the two subjects that are the most fundamental.”

In the transportation arena, Miller wants to increase the gas tax and snag some of the port’s profits to fund transportation projects.

“We have a crisis in transportation,” he said, calling it a national security issue, because the military does not want to invest any additional assets in the area unless transportation is improved. “We have to fund transportation. Selling the ABC stores isn’t going to do it. Waiting for offshore drilling isn’t going to do it.”

Miller would raise the gas tax two cents a year for five years and take 10 percent of the Port of Virginia’s profits.

“They generate a lot of traffic on our roads,” he said of the ports. “It is a dedicated, realistic and sustainable source of income.”

But, he added, “I’m willing to listen to any plan that makes sense.”

Miller also hopes to advocate for mandating more physical activity for students during the school day, creating a bipartisan redistricting commission and limiting interest rates on payday loans and other “predatory lending practices,” as he called them, to 36 percent.

He also wants to allow anyone 65 or older to vote absentee without an additional excuse.

“We shouldn’t force our senior citizens to stand in a long line on Election Day,” he said. “They shouldn’t have to look at that long list and make up an excuse. When you’re 64 years old, you deserve the right to call up and ask for an absentee ballot.”

Miller is a member of the marketing committee of the Newport News Economic Development Authority, serves on the Virginia Peninsula Children’s Literacy Foundation, and volunteers for People to People and Warwick Little League.

He and his wife Sharron live in Newport News. They have two married children and one grandchild.

His campaign website is