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I'm Chris Miller and I'm a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois' 12th Congressional District. I'm not a stranger to blogging, but this is my first attempt at doing so on Daily Kos so just bear with me as I get it figured out.

I have been a progressive Democrat all my life. I started volunteering in campaigns when I was 15. At 18 I enlisted in the Army. I am a third generation Veteran; military service is a deep tradition in my family. I served 9 years in the U.S. Army in nuclear, biological, and chemical defense. I served 2 tours in Baghdad, Iraq. I trained Iraqi soldiers and screened Iraqi police officers. I planned and led combat logistical patrols. I received the Purple Heart in 2004 when a suicide bomber attacked my vehicle and detonated his device at point-blank range.

The war in Iraq was started on false and forged intelligence. It was a very costly lie, in terms of human life and money. 13 men I knew were killed during my tours there. I almost died there myself. It is their memory I carry with me every day.

Since leaving the military, I have been an advocate in Washington for breaking our addiction to oil, getting Americans to recognize that climate change is a national security issue, and that supporting new green technologies will create jobs. I have also worked to preserve the U.S. budget for international development assistance as requested by our Generals in Iraq and Afghanistan, having participated in some of these efforts in Baghdad.

I know personally the results of poor government policy. Those who go out and do all the fighting and working for the country have virtually none of the say. Domestically, our Congress is filled with old millionaires who are out of touch with working people and the realities of the post-Cold War world. The influence of corporate money in our politics has created a situation where our Representatives must bend to these interests to stay in office. I believe public service should be about service again. If we want to change Washington, we have to change the people we send there. We need to send more of the 99% and less of the 1%. This will require average Americans standing up and taking charge. That's why I am running for Congress.

Learn more about me at My campaign is citizen-centric, so you can donate online with ActBlue

This is my first attempt at writing here on Kos. So be nice!

I’m no stranger to politics, having put up yard signs and knocked on doors for Democratic candidates since I was 15 years old. But it is quite a different experience actually being a candidate myself in my home district. In the last two months, I have knocked on doors, gathered nearly 2,000 petition signatures, and called voters throughout the Illinois 12, a district that takes 4 ½ hours to drive through end-to-end.

Americans are intensely tired of the same old politics. Congress’ approval rating is lower than the IRS, communism, and Nixon during Watergate. Less than a quarter of our members of Congress ever served in the military, despite being charged with vital national security decisions. Their average age is 60 years old. 47% of them are millionaires, and their net worth is up 15%. Contrast this with an economic downturn, unemployment double the norm (and even worse among returning veterans such as myself), declines in income and increasing poverty, and a U.S. median age of 36 and it’s easy to see why.

To create real change means more than changing the party in charge in Washington every couple of years. Real change will mean Americans focusing on issues and who candidates are. If voters pay attention to issues and those who want to represent them, political parties will have to put up candidates that represent the people’s interests and not simply their party’s interests.

Sadly, most of the electorate doesn’t do this. I often have to explain to folks the difference between State Representative and U.S. Representative. Many people don’t know what district they live in or when Election Day is. A surprising number are not registered to vote and the most common excuse is that they don’t want to get jury duty. Others say they’re so frustrated they just plain don’t care to vote anymore because it won’t make a difference.

Unfortunately, it is this frustration-turned-apathy that has led to an out-of-touch Congress, the province of old millionaires who can’t seem to get along even on issues they agree on such as the payroll tax break. All that is necessary for our current woes to continue is for voters to continue to do nothing. If we want to change the way our Congress and our government works, we have to change the kind of people we elect to represent us in Congress.

2012 presents another opportunity for Americans to choose. While the media focuses on the top of the ticket and the White House, the real fight should be about who we send to Capitol Hill. A good number of the old guard are retiring from Congress this year. It presents a chance to pass the torch to a new generation of leadership who will get America moving forward again.

Americans will have a clear choice to make this November. Hopefully they’ll make the right one.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you for offering to serve. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rickeagle, elwior, bnasley

    Let me suggest to you that, if we have government BY the people, the only group whose power is threatened are the people who have presumed to rule as petty potentates (representatives), rather than serve the public.  That is, the members of our legislative bodies, particularly the Congress, have made an art out of claiming to be beholden to no-one to serve the nation or people while their main objective has been to remain in office by using legislation to reward or punish constituents, individual persons and corporations.
    Why else do they constantly threaten to deprive one group or another of their rights and throw up some new boogieman from which they will "protect" us?
    The latest "austerity" kick is just another word for deprivation by people who have entirely forgot that deprivation of rights is supposed to be reserved as punishment for crime.
    Perhaps it's just a matter of politicians having taken a page from religious preachers.  But, if that's the impetus, it's entirely inappropriate to substitute the China or Islamic menace for the hellfire of old.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:07:07 AM PST

  •  It would be interesting to see how a veteran... (6+ / 0-)

    ...would do by running on veteran's issues alone - basically, creating buzz at every VFW, AmVets, and American Legion post in the district.

    A veteran could do this by truly understanding veteran's issues, and engaging with VSOs in the various vets organizations such as listed above.

    The GOP is big on giving lip service to active duty military and veterans, but they're generally absent when it comes to truly supporting and funding programs that benefit both past and present members of the armed services and their families.

    We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned and brainwashed to believe that this is as good as it gets. It's not.

    by Richard Cranium on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:25:28 AM PST

    •  P.S. - check out the DKos Military Veterans group (6+ / 0-)

      Link here.

      Quite a bit of good reading on topics of interest to the DKos veterans community.

      We're resigned to our collective fate because we've been conditioned and brainwashed to believe that this is as good as it gets. It's not.

      by Richard Cranium on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:27:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Joe Sestak did that to some degree (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bnasley, Richard Cranium, Amber6541, kurt

      rather successfully when he ran against Weldon.

      I'd like to see him back in DC (Sestak, not Weldon.)

      "one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress" -- John Adams

      by blue armadillo on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:44:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good Thought (5+ / 0-)

      I'm a member of nearly all of the Vets groups since I left active duty, even the generally right-leaning ones (ie, Legion). The problm is that many of them deign to get involved in politics with a non-incumbent. It makes them feel unsafe, even where one is a Vet (me) and the others are not. It's politics. I find this unfortunate. VFW even closed their PAC.

      The GOP pays lipservice to Vets while cutting their benefits. It's an absolute case of smiling to your face and then stabbing you in the back. Many vets enjoy the tough-guy rhetoric of the GOP. The truth is that they're the ones that have no trouble sending other peoples' kids off to war and then stripping Vets of support and military retirees of pay when they get home. People have to pay attention. And watching the news doesn't count.

  •  Disagree with the title (0+ / 0-)

    Changing who the Representatives are won't make a difference when the system is the problem.

    Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

    by EthrDemon on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 11:44:57 AM PST

    •  Point taken, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Point taken, but don't we have send people to Congress who are willing to work to fix that system? Saying the system is broke is true, but what now? Working from outside the system puts pressure on those within it. Working from inside the system works just as well. But doing both at the same time is the most effective method. Let's get 'em surrounded and tell them to come out with their hands up . . .

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