Attorney General Candidate Miller Calls For Professionalism, Not Politics
By Andy McKeever On: 10:00PM / Tuesday June 17, 2014
John Miller was a guest of the Berkshire County Republicans on Tuesday at Zucco's.
John Miller says the attorney general's job is not a political one.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Attorney General Candidate John Miller says it is time to vote for the person, not the politics.
Miller has launched a campaign for the attorney general's office. He will be on the ticket as a Republican but he says that shouldn't and won't matter. What matters, he said, is that he has the skills and experience to do the job.
"Fundamentally it is not a political job. The law in this state is built on the Massachusetts constitution. On top of that, our statutes. And, on the side, 300 years of common law decided by our courts. The basic job of the attorney general is to protect that law," Miller said.
The 61-year-old has spent his last 36 years as a construction attorney working with public contracts. He knows procurement laws and he has seen how state contracts are awarded.
And he says he knows how to make sure the state's money goes to where it should be going.
"Every day I will find out how to make it increasingly dangerous to steal from the state," Miller told the Berkshire County Republicans during a dinner Tuesday night in Pittsfield.
In both the social programs and then on the contractual side, Miller said he will organize and layer the state's databases to help root out mistakes or malpractice in payments and funding.
"This isn't about malevolence or evil. This is just an administrative improvement," Miller said. "You have to start looking systematically."
Miller says he will also be "a real partner" with the district attorneys and sheriff departments. And, he promises that he will handle the office independently and not politically.
"I just think that we are not paying attention at this job, at this time. It is a professional approach to this job [I am bringing], not a political one," Miller said.
While he promises the independent nature, Miller is running on the Republican ticket. He says he always been a Republican so it "was natural" to take their nomination.
Now living in Winchester, Miller grew up in New Britain, Conn., before attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After earning his master's degree, he went to Boston University for his law degree. He returned to MIT at the age of 40 to finish up a doctorate.
"My parents dropped me off when I was 17 at MIT and I have a civil engineering degree, master's degree and then I went to law school. When happens when you put civil engineering with law school, what pops out is a construction lawyer," Miller said.
"I've been a construction lawyer for 36 years, which has taken me into public contracts. My wheelhouse, most of my professional life, has been in state contracts."
Since 1977 he has worked in a few law firms focused on construction. He stopped for 10 years to teach at MIT before going back to practicing at Patton Boggs, LLP.
"I have the experience and the skills. I'm 61 and it is time to give back. I've had a great run as a public contracts lawyer but I think it is time," he said of why he decided to run for his first political office. "The ship of the state is leaking a little bit and I think I have some skills I can contribute."
Miller launched his campaign for the seat in March and is the only Republican candidate. The seat will be open because current Attorney General Martha Coakley is running for governor. The Democrats will be holding a primary between Warren Tolman and Maura Healy to pick their nominee.
Miller says he has no plans for any officer higher than attorney general and just wants to do the job as the state's attorney.
"I think we need someone to pay attention. I think in order to be a good lawyer you have to remember who the client is and that the client's interest is paramount," Miller said.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Voting is from 7 to 8 p.m.
Deadline to register or change party affiliation is Aug. 20; only unenrolled voters may select which primary to vote in. More information on registering can be found here.
Candidates on the ballot in a race for their party nomination; all others on the ballot are unopposed
Republican • Governor: Charles D. Baker & Mark R. Fisher
Democratic • Governor: Donald M. Berwick, Martha Coakley & Steven Grossman • Lieutenant governor: Leland Cheung, Stephen J. Kerrigan & Michael E. Lake • Attorney general: Maura Healey & Warren E. Tolman • Treasurer: Thomas P. Conroy, Barry R. Finegold & Deborah B. Goldberg
The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.