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Miller looks to get head start on job
Butch Miller thanks people in the Blackshear Place area on Wednesday for electing him to the state Senate. - photo by Tom Reed

Though the legislature will not be in session, senator-elect Butch Miller may have a busy seven months.

Miller beat opponents Brandon Givens and Jimmy Norman in Tuesday’s special election to serve out the unexpired term of former Sen. Lee Hawkins, who resigned to run for the U.S. House of Representatives. The term ends Dec. 31.

Miller said his victory is just one of many steps he hopes will lead to a full term as the state senator representing the 49th District.

He will run in the July primary and if successful, in the November general election, all while serving as senator.

“Between now and July, my plan is to continue to talk to people about their concerns about state government and what kind of role state government should play,” Miller said. “I really want to go to Atlanta and vote the conscience of Hall County and Jackson County in the 49th District. Not my particular concerns but the public’s concerns.”

Ryan Cassin, a spokesman for the lieutenant governors office, said though Miller’s term will be short, it will not be different from any other senator’s.

“They’re not going to be taking any votes, there are fairly few study committees being put together, but what he’ll be doing, like any other senator, is concentrating on constituent concerns,” Cassin said. “You’re out in the district, attending meetings, listening to your constituents and being helpful however you can with the full resources available to you as a state senator.”

Miller will receive an office and an administrative staff and also will be eligible for any study committees that could be assembled.

Miller said he hopes to win the general election to be ready to get to work in January.

“In the long run, winning in the special election will mean that the state senator from the 49th District would have a slight seniority over all those that are elected in the next election cycle,” Miller said. “I’d have an opportunity to get my feet on the ground and shorten that learning curve.”

Miller said he has not yet set a time for his swearing in ceremony. According to the lieutenant governors office, counties have seven days to certify the election results, followed by another seven days for certification from the secretary of state’s office.

“It could be as many as 14 days out before the results are even certified, but typically speaking it happens within a week,” Cassin said.

Any judge can perform the ceremony, which can be scheduled at Miller’s preference.

On Wednesday, Miller spent part of the day meeting with residents and part of the day taking down campaign signs.

“We’ve got a lot of volunteers that have come forward and put out signs for us,” Miller said. “We’d like to make sure we’ve cleaned up after the party, so to speak, of the special election, and make sure we’ve got up all of our signs.”

But Miller said they’ll return in time to campaign for the July 20 primary election.

“I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback, and the solid victory last night in the special election gives us a great deal of confidence and momentum moving toward the primary,” Miller said.