Veteran Rep. George Miller, one of the House of Representatives Democrats' leading voices on health, education and labor issues, is retiring.
"About a year ago, my sons started saying, 'C'mon, Dad, it's been 40 years!'" Miller told the Contra Costa Times."It got me thinking about what I have accomplished in partnership with my staff in the past 40 years. I can look back on our body of work and be very proud of it. I hope my constituents are proud of it, too, because a lot of it is about Contra Costa County, the East Bay and the state.
"It seemed like a good marker. It was still a hard decision. But it felt right."
Miller, 68, was first elected in 1974. Now the dean of California's congressional delegation, he has chaired the House Education & Labor Committee, and is close to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
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He chaired the Democratic Policy Committee and was a major figure in developing the caucus' agenda when it won control of the House in the 2006 election.
Pelosi Monday called Miller "the model of the serious, substantive and successful legislator. In the majority, as chairman of three committees, and in the minority as well, he has written some of the most creative legislation of our time – on health care, education, child policy and labor rights, and also on the environment, energy and national parks. George always incorporated the most current research of our best thinkers into innovative bills, and he passed most of them with bipartisan support."
Miller served as top Democrat on the Education & Labor Committee at the time Rep. John Boehner, Ohio, was chairman.
Monday Boehner, now Speaker of the House, lauded Miller.
"No one would confuse me and George Miller for ideological soul mates, but during our years serving together on the Education & the Workforce Committee, we got things done on behalf of the American people thanks in no small part to his dedication and willingness to work for the greater good. I have great respect for George, and on behalf of the whole House, thank him for his decades of service and congratulate him on a remarkable career," Boehner said.