Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Judge Miller: Like a Good Bottle of Wine

I can remember back almost 35 years of making the trek to Benton, KY the county seat of Marshall County to curry the favor of Marshall County Judge Mike Miller for one candidate or another. If you want to win Marshall County it's always a good thing to have the man in black on your side.

I enjoyed sitting outside Judge Miller's office Tuesday just watching him operate. One would think that having served for over 30 years that He would have found a comfortable chair and routine and maybe slowed down a little bit. No, I don't think so. Some county officials don't come out of their office unless it's for lunch or to lock the door and go home, not Miller.

In the hour or so that I sat in the hallway of the Marshall Co. Courthouse, I bet Judge Miller came out no less than 10 times to bark orders, delegate, look for someone who was late to meet with him etc... Walking faster than I can run.."I'm waiting on you" he said, to the Director of the Health dept. Later, the door opens, "I need you in here now" to someone else. Again the door opens and Judge Miller marches down the hall to another office and back again. Someone says to him "I heard you quit smoking" and Miller replies on the move, "smoked two today, four yesterday and three the day before, I'm working on it." Back into his office.

Judge Miller, who has never lost a precinct as County Judge, is very unpretentious. He can carry on a conversation while doing five things at once. Quick with a joke and enjoys poking fun at his old friends. While unpretentious in his personality and demeanor the same can't be said for his suits. Decked out in a light gray suit with a Johnny Cash black shirt the Judge may rival Jody Richards when it comes to the honor of "Best Dressed".

It does not appear that Mike Miller has slowed down a bit since the first time I met him in the early 1970's. While times and responsibilities have changed, Judge Miller has remained the same while adapting county government to meet the needs of a constantly changing society. Like a good bottle of wine, Mike Miller just gets better as the years go by.
Correction: My good friend John Tom Soyars hammered me on this so I will correct it. Mr. Soyars who is a Notre Dame grad and a Vandy Law grad is the son of the late Judge James Tom Soyars who also served as Christian Co. Attorney and was the law partner to Governor Breathitt. Mr. Smarty pants found it interesting that I was trying to curry favor with Judge Miller at the age of 8. I guess I should have said that I was traveling with my Mother who was trying to curry favor with Judge Miller for one candidate or another over the years. I stand corrected Mr. Soyars.

1 comment:

Jeff Noble said...

I enjoyed the piece on Judge Miller, who I don't know, but have known of, my whole life. While some of his politics and mine would mix like oil and water, I know he is a powerful man and a good one despite some of our political differences, and I am so happy that you and him and others are helping Todd Hollenbach in his race for Treasurer - I'll add here Todd's politics are much closer to yours and Judge Miller's than they are to mine, but Todd is a friend of 35 or so years and I tend to support my friends.

I can remember being in attendance at several speeches Judge Miller has made and grandly disagreeing with some of what he had to say. But I also most especially remember the speech he made at the Fancy Farm Bean Dinner in 2006 about not letting the politics of the National Democratic Party (the one I belong to) get in the way of supporting Democrats at home and in Frankfort.

He pointed out that the real issues that face real people day-to-day are more likely to be addressed by Democrats at every level than by Republicans, and we both know he is right. He brought up all the wedge issues - the ones I tend to support - and acknowledged they didn't set well with a lot of folks in the 1st and 2nd CDs. But then he said the elections are really about caring and giving and brought the message home.

I went up to him afterwards, properly identifying myself as a pretty liberal Democrat - or as a few of my friends say a Democratic-leaning-Socialist, and thanked him for the speech. That speech improved his standing in my book and, as I said, he is a good man.

Jeff Noble
Louisville, KY