In January 2015, Tom Miller was sworn in for his ninth term as Iowa’s Attorney General. Miller is one of the longest serving state Attorneys General in the history of the United States. Across decades of public service with governors from both major parties, Miller has fought to protect small farmers, victims of crime, children, consumers, and people across Iowa.
Early Life and Education
Miller was born in Dubuque, IA. His mother, Maude, was a practicing nurse; his father, Elmer, served as county assessor, and was an enduring influence for Miller’s later career in public service. He graduated from Wahlert Catholic High School and obtained his BA from Loras College, before leaving Dubuque to earn his JD at Harvard Law School.
After law school. Miller moved to Baltimore, Maryland to volunteer with the federal VISTA program (now AmeriCorps VISTA) for a year. He then worked on Capitol Hill, serving Congressman John Culver. He soon returned to Baltimore to supervise the legal education program at the Baltimore Legal Aid Society where he worked on behalf of indigent clients and taught part-time at the University of Maryland School of Law. After four years, Miller returned home to Iowa and established a private practice in McGregor. Miller then decided to enter the world of public service and worked as City Attorney for McGregor and the adjacent town of Marquette. In 1978 Miller ran for, and won the office of Iowa Attorney General. After three successful terms in office, Miller ran for the Democratic Party nomination for governor. However, upon not winning the bid for the governorship – and choosing not to simultaneously run for re-election as Attorney General, Miller left office and went back into private practice. In 1994, Miller chose to run for Iowa Attorney General again and was elected by an eight-point margin. Though Democrats’ electoral success in the state has varied since 1994, the people of Iowa have re-elected Miller in every election since.
Miller has dedicated much of his career as Attorney General to working on behalf of the state’s farmers. Miller established the state’s Farm Division and has stood up to chemical companies, agribusinesses, pipelines, and other challenges to food safety and small business success. Over the years, Miller has strengthened and upgraded his state’s Consumer Protection division, which has brought suits against deceptive “buying clubs,” for-profit universities, and other perpetrators of consumer fraud. He also improved the state’s online consumer complaint system to address common scams against armed service members and veterans. Throughout his career, Miller has taken special care to protect Iowa’s children by strengthening anti-child pornography laws, establishing Internet safety trainings, leading efforts against human trafficking, and helping address issues of addiction and substance abuse among minors. Miller helped lead the multi-state lawsuits against tobacco companies, securing a massive settlement which those companies paid directly to states. More recently, he led the state’s efforts against unregulated, illegal, and deceptive sales of synthetic marijuana, which present a special health risk to children and teenagers.
Tom Miller lives in Des Moines and has an adult son, Matt.