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Senator Jeremy Miller visits Harmony during legislative break

Mon, Apr 16th, 2012
Posted in Harmony Government

Senator Jeremy Miller, left, visited with Harmony residents at On the Crunchy Side, owned by Miles Petree, right. Photo by Jade Sexton.

Minnesota State Senator Jeremy Miller took the chance to visit several places in southeast Minnesota during the legislation’s spring break. It was an opportunity for him to meet with residents and business owners, answer questions, and share discussions.

Monday, April 9 he visited On the Crunchy Side in Harmony for an informal discussion with interested residents.

Miller represents District 31 as a Republican, but is quick to point out that he is an independent thinker, and he feels that is very important.

“I’m here to listen and represent people, not a political party,” shared Miller. He added that he looks at each topic individually, and that he reads and responds to all of his emails.

Miller is up for re-election in November. He explained that the State Senate is usually a four-year term, but every ten years when the census is done, the district lines are redone, and the term is for two years.

Cindy Ofstedal, who owns the Asahi Loft and Asahi Antiques in Harmony, asked him what has most disillusioned him in his position.

“The biggest frustration I have is the political divide,” answered Miller. “It’s the worst it’s ever been in Minnesota, and it’s even worse in Washington.”

Miller went over some of the positive things that he has been a part of in helping Minnesota while he has been in the senate. Legislature passed for the Veteran’s Cemetery that will be located outside of Preston. “We have done everything we can at the state level,” said Miller. The topic will be going to the federal government for grant money, and Miller said they hope to have it completed next year.

Another new thing passed this last year was making “bath salts” or “plant food” illegal. Miller said these synthetic drugs have become a big problem in many areas, as they are marketed as something innocent. “Bath salts are just as bad, if not worse, than cocaine or meth,” said Miller.

Miller also mentioned the Greater Minnesota Internship Program, which gives incentives to give opportunities for internships. “A lot of internships lead to full-time jobs,” explained Miller. “The intent is to create more jobs in greater Minnesota.”

Miles Petrie, owner of On the Crunchy Side, noted that Miller voted against the State voter ID bill. This would have required all voters to present a photo ID card in order to be able to vote. Petrie asked why he voted against it.

“I support the concept of photo IDs,” said Miller. “We need to address the integrity issue of voting. I just don’t think it’s good public policy to legislate through the constitution.”

There are certain things that concern Miller about the bill. “We don’t know the cost, or the consequences,” he said. He added that in District 31, which he represents, there are 4,900 registered voters that do not have a current valid photo ID.

Petrie stated that people need to be tallied and identified for voting, and that voter fraud is a real issue. “If people are going to be tallied and entered into a computer, how can you prove who you are?” he asked. “There need to be safeguards put into place.”

Petrie also stated that he, as a taxpayer, would not like to pay for everyone to get a photo ID.

“We do need to address the issue, but not through the constitution,” said Miller.

Petrie also spoke about the money available to people in Harmony, and other small towns, to open up new businesses. There are loan programs and incentives through the EDA (Economic Development Authority) that a lot of people might not be aware of.

Miller shared that he is 29 years old; the youngest State Senator right now, and the second youngest in Minnesota history. He lives in Winona with his wife Janelle and infant son. He works with his family at William Miller Scrap Iron and Metal doing accounting and finance. He graduated from Winona State in 2001.

To contact Senator Miller with questions, he can be reached at 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Capitol Building, Room 320, St. Paul, MN 55155-1606. He can also be emailed at sen.jeremy.miller@senate.mn.

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