Before retiring his seat in Congress in 2014, George Miller was the Senior Democrat of the House Education and Workforce Committee and chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, a leadership position. During his 40-year career in Washington, George was a leading advocate on education, labor, the economy, and the environment.
He represented the 7th, and then, after redistricting, the 11th District of California in the East Bay of San Francisco since 197 5. Over the years, his District included portions of Contra Costa and Solano counties, including Richmond, Concord, Martinez, Walnut Creek, Danville, Pittsburg, Benicia, Vallejo and Vacaville. He is a life-long Democrat and Californian.
Mr. Miller served on the Education and Workforce Committee since first coming to Congress and was its chairman from 2007 through 2010. From 1991 to 1994 George chaired the House Natural Resources Committee, one of the primary committees overseeing the environment, energy and public lands, and served as the committee’s Senior Democrat until 2000.
Among George’s top priorities in Congress were strengthening and growing America’s middle class and ensuring economic growth that creates good American jobs. He has been a strong leader in the effort to protect Americans’ retirement and health security, to further innovation in technology, science and education, to make college more affordable, to improve child nutrition, to make k-12 public schools more successful, and to reduce global warming.
In the 111th Congress, George helped craft President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to save and create millions of jobs, invest in education and get the economy moving forward again. The law also included historic investments to spur education reform, including the Race to the Top program, which has encouraged states to modernize their schools, reward excellent teachers and use data to help increase student achievement.
George was one of the three committee chairmen who wrote and passed the historic health care law, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The law provides fundamental health reforms by slowing the growth in out-of-control health costs, introducing competition into the health care marketplace to keep coverage affordable and insurers honest, protecting people’s choices of doctors and health plans, and assuring that all have Americans access to quality, stable, affordable health care.
George also worked with President Obama to transform the federal student loan programs to ensure they work in the best interest of students. By eliminating the banking middleman and wasteful subsidies paid to banks, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2010 saved $60 billion in taxpayer money and invested that money in students and college completion. The law raised the Pell Grant scholarship to its highest level in history, decreased interest rates on need-based student loans and invested in community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. According to the House Historian, under Mr. Miller’s leadership, the Education and Labor Committee was the most productive committee in the history of the House of Representatives.
Following President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, the first bill he signed into law was written by George and passed out of the Education and Labor Committee. The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act overturned a Supreme Court ruling that restricted a woman’s right to challenge her employer on the basis on pay discrimination. Other important pieces of legislation shepherded by Mr. Miller include the Give Act, now called the Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Service Act, to expand national service opportunities, the minimum wage increase of 2007, and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, at that time the largest expansion of federal financial aid for college
since the GI Bill. The bill was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush. The law cut interest rates for Stafford Loans in half, increased Pell grants, and provided loan forgiveness to qualified public service employees with student loan debt – without increasing the deficit.
George is an expert and leader in Congress on California water issues and national environmental policy. In 1992, he passed out of his committee the historic California water reform law known as the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. This legislation was signed into law by then President George H.W. Bush. George also co-authored with Senator Dianne Feinstein the 1994 California Desert Protection Act.
Until recently, George Miller served as a member of the Board of Directors of Health Net Insurance Company headquartered in Los Angeles. Currently, he is serving as Senior Education
Advisor to the CEO of Cengage Learning, Michael Hansen. Cengage Leaming is a leading educational content, technology, and services company headquartered in Boston. Miller also serves a member of the Board of Teach Plus, an organization dedicated to teacher excellence and
teaching reform. He is serving on two commissions in his home state of California, one seeking to improve Early Childhood Education in California and another studying income inequality in California. Recently Congressman Miller Co-Chaired with former Governor Mitch Daniels, The
Aspen Institute’s Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence 2015.
Mr. Miller is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Lincoln Project: Excellence and Access In Public Higher Education. He is also serving on a number of Commissions dealing with Early Childhood Education and the need for funding for America’s Research Universities. Miller continues to be involved in a number of labor issues here and internationally.
George Miller was born in Richmond, CA, on May 17, 1945 and lives in Martinez. He graduated from Diablo Valley Community College, San Francisco State University, and earned his law degree from the University of California, Davis, Law School. He served on the staff of then-State Senate Majority Leader George Moscone in Sacramento. He is married to Cynthia Caccavo Miller, a life-long resident of Contra Costa County. They have two sons, George and Stephen, and six grandchildren.