The last time Rick Miller ran for Congress, his district was a little closer to home.
That was in 2004, when the Guilford County Democrat ran in the 6th District against veteran Republican U.S. Rep. Howard Coble. Miller still lives in the 6th District, in the small town of Summerfield just north of Greensboro.
But Miller, 37, is one of six Democrats running in the new 12th District, which encompasses most of Mecklenburg County.
He’s not very familiar to Mecklenburg voters. That may not change since he’s not raising money to get his name out.
Sparking a career
Miller once aspired to fly. He got a commercial pilot certificate from an aviation college in Florida. But he says when the Sept. 11 attack stalled airline hiring, he looked for a different career.
He became an electrician and went to work for an electrical contractor as a project manager. He says he got restless and, after getting an electrical contracting license of his own, went to work for the High Point Housing Authority.
“Although the work remains the same, the appeal of performing a community service for those in need is irresistible,” he says. “Same work, one-third the pay, yet far more rewarding.”
Running for office
Miller has run for office twice. In 2004, he ran against Coble. And in 2006, he ran for the state Senate. He won the Democratic primary but lost the general election to Republican Sen. Phil Berger.
He had set his sights on running again but planned to do so in 2020 or later. Then lawmakers redrew the districts. He knew it would be hard for a Democrat to win in the Triad and thought the new lines would dilute the incumbency advantage of Democrat Alma Adams, who lived in Greensboro.
“So I thought I’d go ahead and take the chance this time, and it would probably be my last,” he said.
Having no illusions
Miller, who has no campaign committee and no website, says he’s interested in foreign policy. But he doesn’t think many voters want to hear about that.
So he says he’s focusing on party-building, and helping Democrats win seats from Congress down.
As for his own chances, Miller says he’s realistic.
“I don’t live under any illusion that it won’t be an uphill battle,” he says. “There’s some pretty important people there who’ve done a great job.”
Hometown: North Wilkesboro.
Education: Attended Guilford Technical Community College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Family: Wife, Ashley; one daughter, two sons.
Job: Electrical contractor, now with High Point Housing Authority.
Politics: Lost to Republican U.S. Rep. Howard Coble in 2004; Republican state Sen. Phil Berger in 2006.
Worth knowing: Has a Commercial Pilot Certificate.