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Politics: Miller launches bid to reclaim House seat

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Vida Miller said she waited on someone to file against incumbent Stephen Goldfinch in state House District 108. When no challenger appeared by Sunday, the last day to enter the race, she filed for the uncontested Democratic nomination to face the Republican incumbent in November.

“If I don’t run,” said Miller, a seven-term member of the state House before being defeated in 2010, “I don’t have any room to complain.”

Miller said Goldfinch has used too much time complaining about federal issues to the detriment of his constituents. “Partisan politics is what is so harmful in local government,” she said. “Everybody back home loses. When I was in office, the most important thing to me was District 108. What went on in Columbia was part of your job, but what went on back home was the most important part because these people sent you to Columbia to represent them. I don’t see constituent work being done. I don’t see any new projects being started other than what passes through the general fund for all the counties.”

Goldfinch said he’s confident that he’s doing what his constituents want. “District 108 is a proudly conservative district,” he said in a statement. “Personally, Vida and I consider ourselves friends, but I do not believe this district will support Vida and her Democrat policies. Thankfully, this is a free country, and I’m proud that she’s able to run and express her differences with me and the conservative voters of this district.

“The voters can look at our records and listen to us articulate our visions for the state. They’ll find a stark contrast between my conservative vision: lower taxes, less regulation, smaller government; and the Democrat vision: higher taxes, more regulation and an ever expanding government. I believe this district will choose wisely and will choose the conservative vision.”

Miller’s entry into the state House race should energize county Democrats, new party chairman Michael Carter said. “It brings attention to the candidates, not necessarily the party,” he said. “I think she’ll make an excellent run and continue the good work she did when she was in there.”

Miller represented District 108 from 1996 to 2010 when she was defeated by Republican newcomer Kevin Ryan, 22. He did not seek re-election, and Goldfinch ran unopposed for the House seat in 2012. During his term he agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges relating to the illegal sale of stem cells by a researcher at a biotechnology firm he once owned. The plea followed an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. A partner in a treasure hunting venture said he planned to sue Goldfinch for $250,000 in a claim of breach of fiduciary duty, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court in Brownsville, Texas. Goldfinch called the suit baseless and completely frivolous.

“Everybody needs to be held accountable,” Miller said. “He’s not being held accountable by his own party. He’s not being held accountable by the people of this district. In the meantime, what has he done for District 108 other than getting his wife on the board of the College of Charleston?”

Miller said she is concerned that the state’s refusal to accept federal money for education and health care is putting the sick, the young, the disabled and elderly at risk. “Who’s going to take care of them?” she asked.

Miller said she worked to benefit the district as a House member, pointing to legislation that allowed the state to accept matching federal money for a bike path, a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation that began beautification efforts on Highway 17 and a $200,000 state grant with the aid of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer for a multi-generational center as part of the Waccamaw Regional Community Center at Parkersville Park.

“I’m very proud of some things that are going on,” Miller said. “All of those have been enhancements to our community.”

Miller said she decided to run again in hopes of reestablishing the district’s sway. “We worked hard for 14 years to get a marker for this area,” she said, “worked to get some seniority, some recognition and I feel like most of that has gone down the tubes. My legislative experience and my life experience bring more to the table than this young man. He doesn’t understand what it’s like to have to work from paycheck to paycheck, doesn’t understand problems that women face. I’ve looked at his voting record. It doesn’t look like he’s supported anything for women. He doesn’t understand problems seniors face, even seniors with means. I just see somebody out of touch and out of tune with District 108.”

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