Story by Rachel Peterson, Simpsonian Staff Writer
The longest serving state Attorney General visited Simpson last week at the Culver Center.
Tom Miller talked to seven students, including Culver Fellows, about public service and his time as Iowa Attorney General. His visit is part of a series of Iowa politicians sponsored by the Culver Center.
“We want Simpson students to be exposed to national leaders, local leaders, and civic minded people to have a chance to have personal contact with them and get a better idea of what their jobs are,” said Ray Walton, Executive Director of the Culver Center.
Walton’s hope is that if students are exposed to responsible leaders, they will become civic minded citizens. “Young people have only seen hateful and mean politics. We would like them to be exposed to civil discourse,” he said.
Miller’s political journey began with inspiration from the Kennedy family. “President Kennedy was elected when I was in high school. Robert Kennedy was someone who I admired a great deal. The one of the three that I knew was Sen. Ted Kennedy. I was very involved in his campaign when he ran for President and inspired by his great vision and his desire to do big things for the public,” he said.
Miller was also inspired by Sen. Culver, whose namesake was given to the Culver Center. “He was my mentor. He had an extraordinary energy, drive and work ethic and incredible integrity and principles,” Miller said.
Miller’s office includes 240 employees. Lawyers make up nearly 60 percent of these employees.
Miller gave an overview of what his duties are including assisting politicians with litigation and the law and helping county attorneys with criminal cases. Miller thinks his most important duty, however, is public service.
“To be able to use the law to serve the interest of ordinary Iowans is a wonderful thing to do and when I’m done at the end of the day, I feel good about what I’ve done or what I’m trying to do,” he said.
Miller echoed Walton’s belief that the younger generation has only seen “hateful politics.” Miller thinks that change is coming and bipartisanship will be restored.
Miller thinks young people are key in the political process. “It’s particularly important for young people because they are the ones who we are going to depend on for a long time,” he said. “Young people have a little bit more idealism that those who are older.”