By Tim Leeds
Vic Miller didn't know how much knowledge and work his job would require when he first took office as Blaine County commissioner. Now he likes it so much that he has filed for re-election.
"Take any issue on a federal or state level and it all comes down to local government. It somehow comes back," he said. "You have to be a generalist in almost any area. For me it's been just great. You're learning every day."
Miller filed for re-election as Blaine County commissioner as a Democrat. He was elected to his first six-year term in 1996.
A major goal for Miller if re-elected is to help people understand the complexities of local government. Building coalitions involving city, county and tribal governments to complete projects is part of that goal.
The relationships have "been pretty cooperative, but we need to increase that and continue," Miller said. "It's of utmost importance. When we all keep our eye on the ball, the bottom line is serving the folks."
Miller said he will focus on economic and community improvement, like the recent expansion of Columbia Grain International Inc. in Chinook, if re-elected.
The commissioners need to find ways to improve the infrastructure to increase business in the county, Miller said. Along with basic infrastructure like roads and bridges, the county needs to increase use of electronic infrastructure.
"We just need to keep exploring those avenues," Miller said. "We are in a world economy, one that changes rather rapidly."
Another main concern of Miller's are actions by the 2003 Legislature. He said local governments need to make sure legislators know how their decisions will affect local people.
"It has to be based upon keeping that dialogue going and working and talking together," he said.
Miller is first vice president of the Montana Association of Counties, and will become MaCo's president if re-elected. The president is a member of the National Association of Counties.
Miller was mayor of Harlem for two terms before becoming county commissioner. He received all of his education, from kindergarten through graduate school, in Montana. He served in the U.S. Army from 1973-75, and taught at Fort Belknap Community College for 13 years, mostly teaching business and economics.