Monday, August 10, 2009

Assembly a Full-time Job for Mike Miller by Lisa Fogarty - Queens Chronicle

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The Democratic primary is two months away, but 38th District Assembly candidate Michael Miller has already earned a coveted endorsement from the Queens Conservative Party and the support of several key community leaders, including City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Democratic District Leader Frank Kotnik.

Considering the early fanfare and his community accomplishments, it’s little wonder the 48-year-old Community Board 5 member appeared both serene and confident at his first fundraiser, held Tuesday evening at Shiro’s in Atlas Park.

“I’ve been a community leader for a long time,” Miller said. “I saw what was going on in my district and wanted to put my two cents in. I want to be the one people come to when they need things done.”

The actions in his district Miller refers to, of course, include the recent resignation of former Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges. The office has remained vacant for almost two months and six candidates — Democrats Miller, Albert Baldeo, Nick Comaianni, Farouk Samaroo, Lourdes Ventura and Republican Donna Marie Caltabiano — are vying to take the seat.

Although he’s new to campaigning, Miller has been a leader in his district for over 20 years. As a past board member of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, he helped the small neighborhood organization create a community center on Myrtle Avenue, where it was able to expand and eventually employ 200 workers that serve 6000 residents. He helped raise money for the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps to puchase a new ambulance and has received numerous awards and citations from the Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol and the New York City Police Department for his time spent patrolling the community as a past vice president and current board member of the GCOP and for efforts in ridding the neighborhood of graffiti — which he cites as one major way to improve quality of life in a community.

The past president of the Glendale Kiwanis and past lieutenant governor of Queens West Kiwanis said he is a staunch advocate for education, seniors, war veterans and people with disabilities. He started the Forest Park Aktion Club, a Kiwanis club for adults with mental disabilities, which he considers one of his greatest achievements.

“This is a group of people that really didn’t have much,” Miller said. “They run the club themselves.”

The candidate, who is currently seeking the Democatic endorsement, supports funding for the creation of affordable housing for seniors, as well as after-school programs and technology that will allow schools to keep up with the times.

As a branch manager for Tiger Federal Credit Union’s only New York office, Miller has helped New Yorkers secure loans for their first homes, cars and college educations. He was also the bank’s community liaison, credited for maintaining relationships with companies and organizations such as the New York Racing Association and Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

“I enjoy getting that car loan for somebody,” he said. “At Christmas, I like getting them their holiday bonuses.”

Regardless of how full his schedule would become as assemblyman, Miller said his number one duty is to serve his constittuents.

“For me, it’s not a part-time job,” he said. “I’m not going to be running a business.”