Zell Miller , United States Senator
After serving two terms as one of the nation's most popular governors, Zell Miller was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and quickly established himself as a strong voice for the conservative, common-sense approach to issues.
Though he is a lifelong Democrat, Miller has kept his pledge to serve all 8.5 million Georgians and no single party in the Senate. He chides the national Democratic Party for putting partisanship ahead of the people in his best-selling book, “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat.”
In the Senate, Miller has regularly reached across the aisle to work with Republicans to cut taxes, improve education, confirm the President's nominees, and strengthen national security by giving the Commander-in-Chief his full support in Iraq and in the global war on terrorism.
Miller also has introduced legislation to crack down on illegal aliens, to strengthen the Montgomery GI Bill for soldiers, to demand more accountability from CEOs, to improve conditions in the Southern Black Belt and to significantly increase FCC fines for indecent broadcasts.
Miller also has focused on Georgia's top industry – agriculture – through his membership on the Senate Agriculture Committee and through working with fellow Southeastern senators to improve conditions for Georgia farmers. Miller also serves on the Banking and Veterans' Affairs committees.
Miller's Senate term ends in January 2005 and he has announced he will not seek re-election. The native Georgian has served in elective office in six different decades, beginning with mayor of his hometown of Young Harris, Georgia, in the late 1950s. When he was elected to the U.S. Senate to serve the remaining four years of the late Senator Paul Coverdell's term, Miller became only the third Georgian – following Richard B. Russell and Herman Talmadge – to be elected as both governor and senator.
As governor of Georgia from 1991-99, Miller gained national prominence for passing the nation's first two-strikes-and-you're-out law against violent felons, for starting the nation's only voluntary pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-olds and for creating the nationally acclaimed HOPE scholarship, which has transformed education in Georgia and which many other states have sought to duplicate.
The Washington Post in 1998 called Miller the most popular governor in America, and Governing Magazine named him Governor of the Year in 1998. His HOPE Scholarship program was dubbed by the Los Angeles Times as “the most far-reaching scholarship program in the nation,'' and his pre-kindergarten program won an award for innovation from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
Throughout his career, Senator Miller has credited two major influences for his success: his strong mother and the U.S. Marine Corps.
Born Feb. 24, 1932, in Young Harris, Georgia, Miller followed his parents' footsteps into the teaching profession and into politics. He was raised by his single mother after his father died when Miller was only 17 days old.
Miller gets his work ethic and his appreciation for the arts from Birdie Miller, an art teacher and one of Georgia 's first female mayors. She hauled stones from a mountain creek to build the family home that Miller still lives in today.
Though he never knew his father, Stephen Grady Miller, Senator Miller followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a University of Georgia graduate, a history professor at Young Harris College and a state senator.
Miller's passions are history, baseball and music. He is a walking baseball encyclopedia who is equally at home at the Grand Ole Opry or Symphony Hall. He has written six books, including “A National Party No More: The Conscience of A Conservative Democrat” and “Corps Values: Everything You Need To Know I Learned in the Marines.''
Miller has been married to Shirley Carver Miller since 1954. They have two sons, Murphy and Matthew, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He also has two yellow Labs, Gus and Woodrow, named after characters in one of his favorite books, “Lonesome Dove.”
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