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Miller offers contrast to Walz

Aaron Miller, a candidate for Congress in District 1, visits with the Daily Globe staff Thursday afternoon. Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — Aaron Miller wants to give the people of the 1st Congressional District a choice. 

“This is more about presenting my ideas, my beliefs and my values and really giving the folks of southern Minnesota a choice,” said Miller, who received the Republican nomination to challenge Rep. Tim Walz in November’s election, for the district that covers southern Minnesota.

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Walz is a four-term incumbent, but there is no such thing as an unbeatable candidate, Miller said during his visit to Worthington Thursday afternoon.

“I think we know who Tim Walz is, we know where Tim Walz stands on most of the issues,” Miller said. “I’m going to take my case to the voters and say, ‘This is who I am and this is what I believe,’ and really compare and contrast the differences.”

Miller defeated Jim Hagedorn and Mike Benson for the nomination to challenge Walz. He said there were some main differences that set him apart from the others.

“No. 1, I’ve only been in the private sector,” Miller said. “I’ve not worked in the government bureaucracy. No. 2, I do have that 15 years of health care industry experience. I think that will be an important background advantage to have when we look to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“Thirdly, as a veteran with 27 years in the military, I think folks took a look at that background and said, ‘That might be a good fit to match up against Mr. Walz in November.”’

Miller, 44, lives in Byron, just outside of Rochester. He is married with two daughters.

“I’ve been in the biotech world in the medical industry for over 15 years,” he said. “I have 27 years in the military and am concerned about the direction of the country, and that’s prompted me to get more involved.”

Recent media attention has been given to Miller based on comments he made during conventions dealing with his daughter being upset about having to learn about evolution in the classroom.

“The funny thing about that is if you read beyond the headlines, you realize that there was a bunch of factually incorrect information that some bloggers got ahold of,” Miller said. “My point was really an analogy that I believe that the parents in the local school boards should have significantly more input on what’s taught in our school district.

“It had nothing to do with with evolution per se; it was purely an analogy,” he continued. “Some of the far left-leaning liberal blogs accused me of everything from being a neanderthal to an individual who doesn’t believe in science, and that’s ridiculous.

“I’ve been in the science industry and the medical industry for over 15 years. Of course I believe in evolution with divine intervention, but that’s a personal belief. The point was an analogy about government overreach and really government involvement in our local area and in our local school districts, but it kind of got spun out of control.”

As Miller has turned his campaign into high gear, he said there have been three main issues across the district: the debt and deficit, economy and Obamacare.

He said he would not be in favor the current national budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan because of the continued deficit.

“As the bill looks right now heading to the senators sitting in the Senate, I would have been not in favor of the continuing deficit it runs,” Miller said. “I think it runs a deficit a couple more years before it becomes revenue-neutral. I think we need to have government live within its means.”

Miller said he didn’t disagree that health care needed reform, but that the Affordable Care Act — commonly called Obamacare — wasn’t the right avenue.

“I also don’t believe health care has fundamentally been changed under Obamacare,” he said. “Obamacare, the way it’s set up, is a failed system. It doesn’t mean we don’t need health care reform — we do — but we needed to privatize it more to have more control between the patient and the doctor.

“Really, anytime you create competition in any sort of sector, you see an increase in customer service and you usually see a decrease in prices,” he added. “That’s what folks needed — they needed more choice in their health care options to create that competition.”

Miller said there is still hope for the economy.

“I don’t believe our best days are behind us,” Miller said. “If we can get government out of the way of small businesses and businesses here, the economy can come roaring back. I truly believe in the private sector; I’m a private sector guy.”

One of the keys, he said, is a smaller federal government.

“I think we should have a national debate on what is the best way to lower the rate of taxation, but still be able to have revenue coming into the government,” he said. “Obviously, government serves a purpose. I just happen to believe in a little bit more limited government … but of course we need government to provide essential services that states or individuals aren’t able to provide.”

As Miller continues the campaign trail toward the Nov. 4 general election, he said he wouldn’t call himself a Tea Party candidate.

“I’ve really tried to avoid a label,” Miller said. “Here in southern Minnesota, we have several different factions within the Republican party and the Tea Party is one of the factions. I agree with about 95 percent of all of the different factions within the Republican party.

“I think I’m what would be considered a relatively mainstream conservative. I believe in fiscal responsibility, I believe the government should live within its means, and by nature I’m a social conservative. I think the issues in 2014 are all related to the economy, the debt and deficit and Obamacare.”

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.