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Honda dealership manager will run for state Senate seat
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Butch Miller

Longtime Gainesville businessman and Milton Martin Honda general manager Butch Miller wants to take his business know-how to the Georgia Senate.

Miller said Tuesday he plans to run for the District 49 Senate seat that Lee Hawkins has held since 2006.

Hawkins will not seek re-election, because he plans to run for the 9th District Congressional seat Nathan Deal is vacating to run for Georgia governor.

Miller announced his intent to seek the Senate seat hours after Hawkins kicked off his campaign for Congress on Tuesday afternoon.

"I want to bring ... a business person’s perspective to state government," Miller said. "We’ve obviously got problems with revenue, and if you’ve got problems with revenue, you’ve got problems with the budget. That’s the same in my household as it is in your household, and it’s the same at the Capitol."

On Tuesday, Miller said his love for politics dates back to when he was 7 years old. Miller attributed his desire for public service to his father, Dr. Cecil L. Miller, who practiced medicine in Buford for 50 years and frequently made house calls.

"Literally, when I was a child, people would ask me what I wanted to do when I would grow up and I said I wanted to be in politics," Miller said.

Only now, at the age of 52, has Miller decided the time is right to pursue his political career, he said.

"I’ve got a beautiful wife, three wonderful children. I’ve been blessed with friends beyond measure and my life is complete; however, I want to contribute to the lives of others," Miller said.

The Buford native said he will seek the District 49 seat as a Republican candidate.

"I think that the Republican ticket reflects my ideals and values and those of my family," Miller said. "However, there are many fine, fine points that the Democrats, the Democratic ticket, the Democratic party brings up ... this is going to be a candidacy about inclusion and listening and trying to reflect the ideals and the values and the temperament of this Northeast Georgia community, Jackson and Hall counties."

State Reps. Doug Collins and Carl Rogers, both Gainesville Republicans, considered a bid for the District 49 Senate seat. But both men said this week they had decided against it.

Collins said Tuesday he had decided to stay put in the state House to deal with the state’s budget issues and district reapportionment.

Collins said the "tremendous support" he received for a potential bid for the state Senate made the decision to stay in the State House a difficult one.

"At this point in the timing sequence it’s not something I can undertake at this point," Collins said. "I am by no means out of the picture; I’m going to be around a while."

Rogers, too, will stay in the state House, he said Sunday. Rogers has served in the General Assembly for 15 years.

"I’ve had a lot of people wanting me to run for the Senate, but after weighing all the pros and cons, I felt it was better just to stay in the House," Rogers said. "That is where my knowledge is."

The Senate district covers all of Hall and part of Jackson County.

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