Mary Miller says her bid for Congress is a case of “an ordinary person that’s stepping into an extraordinary opportunity.”
Miller is the wife of first-term State Representative Chris Miller. Together, they run a grain and livestock farm outside of Oakland in Coles County. Mrs. Miller, who has a degree in elementary education, also teaches children through a network of home schools.
When comparing herself to Republican incumbent John Shimkus, Miller notes her support for term limits. Shimkus, who signed a term limits pledge when he first ran for Congress, later rejected the idea of self-imposed term limits, and is now completing his twelfth term in the U.S. House. But Miller said that because of her support for term limits, she doesn’t expect to have a long political career.
“I’m more concerned about the conservative agenda, because I believe our ideas are better than the leftist ideas,” said Miller. “I think that they promote production, creativity and promote communities to flourish.”
When asked about health care policy, Miller said she wanted to work for solutions to health care that many Americans find unaffordable. She cites the need for more transparency and competition in the health insurance marketplace, but opposes any “single payer” proposals. Miller said she couldn’t answer the question of whether the Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats during the Obama administration needed to be entirely repealed and replaced.
Miller said that as someone who co-manages a farm, she respects President Trump’s efforts to achieve more equitable trade relations with other nations, notably China.
“As a farmer, we are willing to put up with a little bit of temporary pain to end up with freer and fairer trade, and expanded markets,” said Miller.
Miller said she wasn’t sure of the specific impact of the new US Mexico Canada Trade Agreement on farmers, but said she was glad Congress approved it and “got something done besides the stupid impeachment.”
“I think it will help farmers,” said Miller, “and I appreciate that President Trump’s renegotiating these trade agreements, where we’ve been taken advantage of.
Miller credits the Trump administration and passage of the 2017 tax cuts with strengthening the U.S. economy. But she said the 15th District remains economically depressed.
“I would like to see the government do more incentivizing to get companies to come to the rural areas into the heartland and establish their businesses there,” said Miller.
Miller said she favors smaller government, with reductions in spending to lower the federal deficit. As an example, (and after conferring with a campaign aide), she said he favors elimination of the U.S. Department of Education.
“I think they take our money to Washington and trickle it back with a lot of mandates,” said Miller. “We’re not stupid, we can figure out how to educate our own children. I think it should be given back to the state and local governments.”
Miller said one of her gifts is an ability to work with people, which she said would serve her well in bridging the partisan divide in Congress.
“I would look for every opportunity to seek solutions and to go across party lines and be solution oriented for the people,” said Miller.
Miller said that as a Second Amendment supporter, she opposes “red flag” laws, which allow police or family members to petition state courts in Illinois and some other states to order firearms to be temporarily taken from people who may endanger themselves or others.
“I just think that we have the constitutionally declared right to bear arms,” said Miller, “and I don’t think if a crime has not been committed that we should be (found) guilty without due process — no crime and then no due process.”
Besides Miller, the Republican candidates in the March 17 primary for Illinois’ 15th District congressional seat are Altamont resident and local school board vice-president Kerry Wolff, Vermilion County Treasurer Darren Duncan, and Camargo physician, Dr. Charles Ellington. The Democratic candidates are Salem pharmacist and city council member Craig Morton, high school teacher John W. Hursey Jr. of Collinsville, 2018 Democratic nominee Kevin Gaither of Charleston, and Coles County public defender and Mattoon school board member Erika Weaver. They’re competing to succeed Republican incumbent John Shimkus of Collinsville, who is retiring from Congress after twelve terms in office.