The election I’m referring to is the one that saw Mike Miller take over 75 percent of the vote to remain Woodhaven’s representative in the state Assembly.
Miller came on the scene in 2009 when he won a special election to fill the spot left vacant after the sad and tragic exit of longtime Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio. Miller was little-known outside of Glendale, and came to the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association to introduce himself to the community.
“One of the things I am introducing is a 24-hour hotline,” he told residents. “My promise to you is that I will be working for you seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”
And that is a promise he has kept, ensuring that when you call his office at (718) 805-0950, you will get an answer not an answering machine no matter what time you call.
Over the years, Miller has always been on the lookout for ways that he can help the community. Just recently, he approached me with an idea to help raise some money for Emanuel United Church of Christ.
“Emanuel is one of the last remaining large meeting spaces left in our community,” he said while explaining the fundraiser at a recent Woodhaven town hall. “They have always been there for Woodhaven, so this is an opportunity to pay them back a bit.”
The result was a Paint Party, where an artist he hired led residents through the process of creating a beautiful snow-filled landscape. In the end, everyone had a great time and $750 was raised for the church.
Speaking of snow-filled landscapes, Miller’s 24-hour hotline regularly gets a workout each winter whenever the city is slow to plow any of Woodhaven’s streets. In the aftermath of a blizzard in January of 2011, residents were outraged when a large number of streets were left untouched days after the last flake had fallen.
Miller was in touch with the WRBA on a nearly hourly basis, updating the residents on which streets had just been plowed and asking for more information on which streets still needed attention.
He’s a regular attendee at the town halls sponsored by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, and makes time in his busy schedule to visit almost every other community group or school or senior center on a regular basis.
But one of the things you’ll always hear said about Miller, whether the speaker is a Democrat or a Republican, is that he’s a nice guy who really cares about people. When you go to him with a problem, you are going to find a sympathetic ear.
That’s not to say that he can solve everyone’s problems, but when you speak with him you will have his undivided attention. And if there is a way that he can help, he will. It’s the kind of guy he is.
On a personal note, I can tell you that when my mom was sick last year, he checked in with a phone call nearly every day to see how she was doing.
She wasn’t in the mood to speak to anyone (that wasn’t because she was sick, mom could be pretty unsociable at times), but when she heard it was Mike, she took the phone to say hello. She liked Mike, she thought he was one of the good guys.
He continued monitoring the situation, offering rides and whatever help he could right up until the day she passed.
When you talk to people about Miller, you’ll discover that these kinds of stories are the rule, not the exception. And you’ll find that the general consensus, among at least 75 percent of our residents, is that Mike Miller is one of the good guys.
Come out to let him and your other elected representatives know what’s on your mind at this weekend’s Woodhaven Town Hall meeting on Saturday, November 19, at noon at American Legion Post 118 at 89-02 91st Street (behind PS 60). Hope to see you there.