Tom Miller is about to wrap up his profession because the longest serving state lawyer normal in america. He has been the Iowa Lawyer Normal for 40 years, the final 28 consecutively.
DES MOINES As Tom Miller prepares to depart from the Iowa Lawyer Normals Workplace after 40 years because the states prime lawyer, the final 28 consecutively, Miller stated he’s appreciative of the folks of Iowa.
Im enormously grateful and grateful for having 40 years. Its longer than anyone else has held the workplace within the historical past of the nation, Miller stated. Theyve been nice years for me and hopefully for the state as nicely.
He was defeated by Republican Brenna Fowl in a detailed contest on Nov. 8, dropping his job by a vote of fifty.8 p.c to 49.1 p.c. It marked the top of a protracted, profitable profession as Iowas lawyer normal.
Miller began out with a defeat practically half a century in the past, nevertheless. In 1974, he misplaced his first race for the put up to Republican lawyer normal Richard Turner 52 p.c to 48 p.c. Miller received a rematch in 1978 and was re-elected in 1982 and 1986.
He tried to maneuver up in 1990 however was defeated within the Democratic gubernatorial main by Donald Avenson, who emerged from a five-candidate subject solely to lose to Gov. Terry Branstad.
Bonnie Campbell, a Democrat, was elected lawyer normal in 1990, however she left the workplace 4 years later to problem, and lose to, Branstad.
Miller returned to the Iowa Lawyer Normals Workplace in 1994 and was re-elected six occasions after that. However his profession got here to an finish with the loss to Fowl, whom he had defeated in 2010 when she glided by the identify Brenna Findley.
After serving as Guthrie County lawyer since 2018, Fowl ran in opposition to Miller once more, this time with the assist of former President Donald
Trump and the backing of a number of conservative organizations, together with the Republican Attorneys Normal Affiliation, which reported donating $2.6 million to her marketing campaign. Fowl reported elevating $3.1 million whereas Miller raised $1.8 million.
Polls confirmed him with a slight lead all summer time and fall, however on Election Evening, Fowl flew previous these projections to turn out to be the primary Republican lawyer normal since Turner, who was in workplace 1968-78.
She is going to be part of different Republicans in state workplace, together with Gov. Kim Reynolds, who was simply re-elected to a second full time period, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, and secretary of state Paul Pate and secretary of agriculture Mike Naig who have been re-elected as nicely.
Roby Smith would be the new state treasurer because the state senator from Davenport defeated Democratic incumbent Michael Fitzgerald. Like Miller, Fitzgerald was the longest-serving occupant of his job within the nation. He additionally was ousted after 10 phrases and 40 years in workplace.
The one Democrat left in statewide workplace is auditor Rob Sand, who received a second time period by edging Republican Todd Halbur 50.1 p.c to 49.9 p.c.
Pleased with workers, household
Miller stated he’s pleased with the work of his workers. He has round 240 workers, a few of whom have labored for him for 20 or extra years. Its as much as Fowl to find out who stays with the workplace, Miller stated.
Im enormously grateful to the voters for giving me 40 years, enormously grateful to my workers which have labored so laborious and made my status, grateful to my household as nicely, he stated. I consider I ran an exceptionally skilled workplace. We did what we believed was proper, it doesn’t matter what the political present was.
Miller stated he isn’t a really partisan individual by nature and has employed Democrats and Republicans to work in his workplace.
He stated he has been working with Fowl for the reason that election and plans for a clean transition.
I consider that when elections are over, put politics apart and also you go ahead, he stated. Thats what were making an attempt to do and thats what she desires, too.
Miller departs because the longest-serving lawyer normal in American historical past. The earlier mark was held by former Michigan lawyer normal Frank Kelley, who served for 37 years and 5 days. Kelley nonetheless holds the file for longest steady service within the workplace.
Miller, who turned 78 in August, stated he has no plans for a comeback.
That is the top of my elective profession, he stated.
Miller ran 13 statewide campaigns and emerged victorious 10 occasions. He hoped to make it 11, however stated he accepts the decision of the folks.
Thats sufficient, he stated with a chuckle. Thats sufficient.
Miller stated he probably would have retired after yet one more time period however famous he had already run his final race thrice. He enjoys the work and stated he was not able to name it a profession.
Aside from his run for governor, Miller by no means sought one other workplace and stated he has no regrets about that.
No, completely not, Miller stated. I like this job. Its a fantastic job.
He was paid $123,669 in 2022, as is about by state statute, and can obtain a pension with IPERS, as would any eligible state worker. His workplace stated he probably can be eligible for state retiree well being advantages.
Miller is a Dubuque native. His father Elmer Miller was the longtime Dubuque County assessor, inspiring him to serve in public workplace. After graduating from Wahlert Excessive College in 1962 and Loras Faculty in Dubuque in 1966, Miller obtained his regulation diploma from Harvard Legislation College in 1969.
He held a wide range of jobs after leaving Harvard, however one was particularly significant as he served as an aide to U.S. Rep. John Culver, a fellow Harvard graduate. Culver, an Iowa Democrat, served 10 years within the U.S. Home of Representatives and one time period within the U.S. Senate.
Culver had excessive requirements, Miller stated, and was a outstanding mentor.
Miller returned to Iowa in 1973 and opened a regulation follow in McGregor in northeast Iowa whereas serving as metropolis lawyer of McGregor and Marquette. He additionally started his political profession, working for lawyer normal in 1974.
Miller misplaced, however he was elected in 1978. Apart from a four-year interval 1991-95, he has been Iowas prime lawyer ever since.
Trying again at his profession, he stated his main position within the battle in opposition to Huge Tobacco is a degree of pleasure.
Attorneys normal in 45 states, together with Iowa, sued the 4 main tobacco corporations and settled with them in 1998 whereas promising to not attempt to get well tobacco-related damages to residents of their states. Since then, Iowa has obtained $1.41 billion in funds underneath the Grasp Settlement Settlement. Lower than 1 / 4 of that, 22 p.c, goes to the state. The rest is paid to bondholders who bought bonds issued by the Tobacco Settlement Authority.
Extra importantly, Miller stated, the variety of Individuals who smoke has decreased markedly, and fewer children have began to smoke.
However the struggle has not come to an finish. In a lawsuit filed in Polk County in July, Miller sued for greater than $133 million from Philip Morris, USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and 16 different tobacco corporations. He stated the corporations have withheld a few of the required annual funds.
Now we have fought, and received, these authorized battles for years, and there’s no finish to those disputes in sight, Miller stated in July. We now should escalate the matter and pressure the tobacco corporations to pay what they owe the state of Iowa.
Miller additionally has made decreasing juvenile crime a serious initiative of his workplace, whereas working to supply compensation for crime victims.
The Shopper Safety Division in his workplace has helped a whole bunch of 1000’s of Iowans who had issues with improper debt assortment practices, telemarketing fraud and abuse, charity fraud, predatory lending, mortgage, and car complaints. The workplace has battled in opposition to telemarketing fraud, particularly the type that targets senior residents.
Miller stated he has made positive his workplace assists rural Iowans as nicely. When he was sworn into workplace in 1979, he began the primary farm division in an lawyer normals workplace within the nation.
Since then, his workplace has sided with farmers in authorized battles with massive agribusiness corporations, filed and received lawsuits in opposition to agricultural chemical corporations, helped a whole bunch of farmers get a good shake from an enormous pipeline challenge chopping throughout their farmland, led a gaggle of states insisting on compensation to farmers and elevators who are suffering losses ensuing from StarLink genetically modified corn, pushed for legal guidelines to guard farmers who enter contracts with massive agribusinesses and investigated excessive fertilizer costs.
In October, Miller introduced the Billion Capsule Pledge program, working along side Goldfinch Well being, an Iowa Metropolis agency, to attempt to scale back opioid abuse in rural areas. Its aim is to take away 1 billion drugs from the black market yearly.
The opioid settlements provide a brand new path ahead in stopping future dependancy and offering therapy assets to those that want it, he stated in saying the proposal, which can contain 10 hospitals that serve rural elements of Iowa. Its our aim with this program to increase assist to rural communities and, particularly, to these inside these communities who’re at-risk or who’ve already been harmed by the opioid epidemic.
Miller additionally has hung out on the nationwide stage.
He twice argued earlier than the U.S. Supreme Court docket, which he stated was a little daunting when he first appeared earlier than it in 2003 for a case about taxation of casinos.
Racetrack homeowners argued that it was unfair that they paid 36 p.c tax on slot machine income whereas riverboat casinos have been assessed a 20 p.c tax. The state stated the distinction was that the floating casinos have been allowed to advertise tourism and financial growth in cities alongside the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
Racetrack on line casino homeowners stated this variance violated the U.S. Structures 14th Modifications Equal Safety Clause. A district court docket sided with the state, however the Iowa Supreme Court docket, in a 4-3 ruling, overturned that.
Miller stated all 9 justices had served at the very least a decade on the excessive court docket. They’d heard different equal safety instances earlier than and clearly have been well-informed on the problem.
The second case, which got here earlier than the excessive court docket in 2004, concerned a person convicted thrice of drunk driving who argued that his responsible plea to the primary offense was made after he waived his proper to a lawyer with out understanding the results. The district court docket and the Iowa Court docket of Attraction rejected that declare.
However the Iowa Supreme Court docket, in a 4-3 resolution, dominated in favor of the defendant, Felipe Tovar. Miller then went earlier than the U.S. Supreme Court docket, as he had within the on line casino case.
I received them each, he stated. Thats the excessive level of a authorized profession, to argue a case earlier than the Supreme Court docket.
Each rulings have been unanimous in his favor.
Miller served as president of the Nationwide Affiliation of Attorneys Normal and was honored because the lawyer normal who contributed most to NAAG and its members. He chaired a number of NAAG committees and led main multi-state working teams targeted on tobacco points, antitrust enforcement, agriculture, and client safety.
Miller remained shut with Culver, who died on Dec. 26, 2018, for many years. He stated he appears again at one thing his outdated boss advised him years in the past.
You dont notice how a lot strain youre underneath till you permit workplace, Miller stated. Im beginning to assume he was proper.
He stated he plans to take a while off he has had only a few holidays within the final 50 years after which follow regulation on a part-time foundation.
I receivedt retire, Miller stated. Ive obtained to maintain lively.