Miller focuses on service after Seminerio scandal

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In the year since he replaced former state Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio in a special election, Assemblyman Michael Miller (D-Woodhaven) said he has restored the trust people have in the office following his predecessor’s guilty plea on corruption charges.

“I’m responsive to the people and people see that,” Miller said during an interview at his campaign headquarters on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale. “When people come in my office, they say Miller gets results.”

“It’s a trust thing´╗┐,” he said. “You have to gain the trust of the people and I’ve worked hard for that.”

Miller pointed to a number of bills he has sponsored that would improve the quality of life of his district’s residents and the guarantee he secured from Genting NY, the presumptive winner of the Aqueduct video lottery terminal contract, to hire local residents in his district as steps he has taken that make him worthy of re-election.

Miller, who has the backing of the Democratic and Conservative parties, faces Community Board 9 member and Community Education Council 24 President Nick Comaianni in the Democratic primary. He also has a primary with Forest Park Senior Center Donna Caltabiano, who is a write-in candidate on the Conservative line and also running as a Republican.

The district includes Glendale, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and Ozone Park.

Miller said creating jobs and reducing costs incurred by small businesses are two of his top priorities.

“Things are tough in every community and jobs are a big issue,” he said, noting he teamed up with state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), Con Edison and National Grid to inform small businesses of steps they can take to reduce energy costs.

He said the Aqueduct VLT project, when it is approved, will become a source of jobs for district residents.

“That should help our community with jobs in the immediate future,” he said.

Miller said quality-of-life issues, ranging from difficulties in crossing Woodhaven Boulevard in Woodhaven to noisy trains in Glendale to graffiti throughout the district, are among the major problems facing the 38th Assembly District.

“Graffiti is still an issue,” he said. “It’s important to get the graffiti off as quickly as it comes up.”

Miller has sponsored a bill in the Assembly requiring businesses that hire workers dealing with children to do sex offender background checks, which was inspired by a karate school in his district that unwittingly hired a sex offender.

The assemblyman was also the co-sponsor of a bill preventing the city from implementing mid-year cuts to education and was instrumental in bringing a senior center back to Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.

On education, Miller noted School District 24 is the most overcrowded in the city and applauded his colleagues for opening a new school on Metropolitan Avenue and said he would ensure that John Adams High School, which was taken off the cutting block by the city Department of Education, never closes.

The assemblyman also co-sponsored the complete streets bill with Addabbo, which led the city Department of Transportation to announce plans to install countdown clocks on Woodhaven Boulevard, which is difficult for seniors and the disabled to cross.

Before his election to the Assembly, Miller was a member of CB 5 and has been an adult leader with Boy Scout Troop No. 439 in Ridgewood. He was also involved with the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, which saw its budget grow from $200,000 to $5 million while he was there.

“There were many nights when people were sleeping, I was driving in the snow to help them,” Miller said.

The assemblyman said he expects to draw support from a wide variety of voters come election time.

“I want them to come and vote for me because I’ve done a great job,” he said. “I’m a hero of reform. I’m different. We should be upfront with people and it’s about representing people in the Assembly.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 6:01 pm, October 10, 2011
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