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Miller joined race to help the area
14th House District race
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Cardiologist Gary Miller said he is campaigning for the 14th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates in the Nov. 5 election for the same reason he got into medicine.
“I’m trying to help the area. It’s my home,” he said. “I got into medicine to help people.”
Miller, a Democrat, is vice mayor of Danville. He has been a member of the Danville City Council for the past five years.
He said he felt compelled to enter public service in part because “I had patients come into my office who were losing their jobs” after factories such as Dan River Mills closed. He said he began to wonder what he could do to help people who couldn’t afford medical care.
“We’ve got to have more jobs and more people get insurance,” he said.
During his time on the city council in Danville, Miller said, “we’ve brought in quite a few jobs.” He also pointed to efforts to renovate downtown Danville among his political successes.
“A couple years from now, you won’t recognize downtown Danville” after renovations are complete, he added.
Projects such as the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre in Henry County and the Berry Hill Mega Park in Pittsylvania County are examples of why officials across the Southside region need to work together to accomplish things for the area as a whole, Miller said.
“Every day, people get up in Danville and drive to Martinsville to work ... or vice versa,” he said. “We’re all tied in together. That’s the only way we’re going to survive.”
He said if elected, he hopes to collaborate with other Southside representatives in the General Assembly to advocate for the area in Richmond. When the area combines its resources as a unit, he said, “all of a sudden, you become a force.”
Miller said he hopes to encourage the Virginia delegation in Congress to see that the Commonsense Permitting for Job Creation Act is passed to allow such business parks to grow.
“We have to demonstrate that all the cities and counties are on the same page. We need the jobs,” he said.
In addition, Miller advocates providing tax incentives for new business that locate in the area as well as existing companies “that expand their business and create jobs,” according to a release from his campaign.
Miller, whose mother was a teacher and principal at Rye Cove High School in Southwest Virginia, said he wants to promote more vocational and technical training for high school students who don’t attend college. In addition, he hopes to seek better pay for teachers.
“We’ve got too many teachers who have second or third jobs ... and that’s not helping our kids,” he said.
Miller also wants to change state legislation he feels is not beneficial to local governments, such as restoring state funding to the Line of Duty Act, which provides benefits to state employees, local government employees and volunteers who hold specified hazardous duty positions.
Funding for those benefits was passed from the state to local governments in 2010, and Miller said he wants to see the responsibility returned to the state. “Unfunded mandates are killing the cities and towns,” he said.
Miller also said he wants the state to participate in an expansion of Medicaid.
“That’s something the (General Assembly is) blocking,” he said. More than “350,000 more people can be insured through Medicaid,” and an estimated 33,000 more jobs would result from the expansion, he said.
“You’ve got to have nurses, orderlies and technicians to take care of these people,” and most jobs would be in Southside “because we’ve got more people (who are) uninsured,” he added.
Local colleges are “doing a good job. They’re training people who are ready for these jobs” in the medical field, “but if the jobs aren’t there when they finished, “they’ll have to go someplace else to get a job,” Miller said.
Name: Gary Miller
Address: Updike Place, Danville
Education: Virginia Tech; Medical College of Virginia; Medical College of Georgia; East Tennessee State University
Occupation (past and present): Holston Valley Community Hospital; Veteran’s Hospital, Asheville, N.C.; cardiologist; owner, Cardiology Consultants of Danville; vice mayor of Danville
Memberships (past and present): Danville City Council; Virginia Board of Medicine; Medical Society of Virginia; Danville Rotary Club; board member of Danville Regional Medical Center; West Piedmont Planning District Commission; assistant professor, Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Family: Wife, Karen; son, Kevin; daughters, Lauren and Allison