Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fairfield farmer has eye on Capitol

Steve Miller plans to run for Jaquet vacancy

Express Staff Writer

The race for the legislative seat being vacated by Ketchum Democrat Rep. Wendy Jaquet has suddenly become contested, as Fairfield farmer and rancher Steve Miller has filed to run for the seat in November.

Miller will be pitted against Democrat John Remington, a former administrator for the Community School who has been attending legislative briefings and brushing up on his political acumen.

The deadline for filing is March 9.

Miller is co-owner of Wolf Springs Ranch, located just inside Camas County. He said he's running because he wants to serve his community, and because of his previous experience working with the Legislature.

"It's something I've always wanted to do, and it seems like a good opportunity," he said. "It seems to me if we're going to live in a country and enjoy it, we should serve it when we can."

Miller's previous legislative experience was not actually in the Legislature, but in his role as president of the Idaho Association of Soil Conservation Districts and a founder of the Idaho Organic Producers Association.

"We had a lot of opportunity to be involved with legislators and the legislative process," he said. "You learn a lot."


Miller said he's been preparing for his run by talking to residents of Camas County and trying to determine which issues are most important to his potential constituents. He said topping the list of concerns are the economy, agricultural regulations, water issues and recent education reforms. He said the last of those prompted him to start reading the full text of the three bills that changed the funding structure of Idaho education when they were passed last month.

"It's important to know what the legislation actually says," he said.

His positions on any issue aren't set yet, he said, as he doesn't feel he knows enough yet to form an opinion. For example, he said he'd like to talk to teachers, superintendents and other educators before taking a position on education reform.

"I have a lot to learn," he said. "It's more important at this stage just to listen to people."

Miller runs the farming part of the Wolf Springs Ranch, producing organic alfalfa—much of which is exported to South Korea—and organic hard red spring wheat.

Republican Lee Barron, a Fairfield resident, has filed to run for Gooding Democrat Donna Pence's seat, but did not return a phone call for comment by press time Tuesday.

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