Jeff Miller: Here’s why I’m staying on the Indianapolis council

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The Indianapolis Star on 12/5/17 by James Briggs and Ryan Martin

Jeff Miller is keeping his City-County Council seat while fighting child molestation charges for the same reasons he first ran for the council in 2011, he told constituents Tuesday.

Miller, a second-term Republican, wrote in an email that his motivation for serving on the council has always been “to give a voice to those who felt they didn’t have a voice.”

“I love fighting for the issues that impact you, whether big or small,” Miller wrote in an email to residents of his Downtown Indianapolis district. “Some view the council as a way to gain power, such as being on certain committees or holding certain titles. No, the council is not about having power, but about having a voice and to use that voice to speak for those we represent.”

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Miller’s email offers the first explanation for why he has remained on the council since Nov. 17 when he was charged with three level 4 felony counts of child molestation alleging that he fondled two 10-year-old girls at his Fletcher Place home. Marion County Republicans expected Miller to resign in the wake of the charges, but in recent days have searched for ways to adapt to his decision to stay.

Miller’s email to constituents came on the same day his beleaguered fellow Republicans signaled that they will seek to topple Miller in the next Republican primary — in 2019. All 10 of Miller’s council Republican colleagues have called for him to resign.

The City-County Council cannot expel Miller unless he were to be convicted of a felony. Council leadership on Monday used the last tool available to limit his role when a three-member panel stripped him of his committee assignments. Now, Republicans are looking ahead to the next council election.

“The Marion County Republican Party will continue to look for a quality candidate to replace Jeff Miller, whether that be through a caucus or in the 2019 election,” Marion County GOP Chairman Jim Merritt said in a statement Tuesday.

Miller on Monday attended his first council meeting since charges were filed. He was greeted cordially, even as his party tried to figure out how to respond to his presence.

Michael McQuillen, the Republican minority leader on the council, said Monday that the GOP caucus might consider expelling Miller. But Republicans did not take that step during a private Monday night caucus meeting, McQuillen said.

In his Tuesday email, Miller also talked about his son.

“The only thing I love more than giving you a voice is being the father of my wonderful son,” Miller said. “And so I look forward to continuing to pursue both of these passions to the best of my ability.”