Congressman George Miller Announced as Fall 2015 Matsui Lecturer

Congressman George Miller
August 27, 2015

Former Congressman George Miller will join UC Berkeley as the Fall 2015 Matsui Lecturer, the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service announced.

Miller, a Democrat, served in the House of Representatives for 40 years, from 1975 until 2015, representing portions of California’s Solano and Contra Costa counties, which included his hometown of Richmond.

During his tenure, Miller worked with seven sitting U.S. Presidents and became the fifth most senior member of the House of Representatives.

Miller attended Diablo Valley Community College before receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from San Francisco State University. He then went on to receive a law degree from the University of California Davis School of Law. 

As a Matsui Lecturer, Miller will spend a week in residency at the Matsui Center during the month of October. The Lecturer speaks to classes, meets with students, delivers a primary public lecture, and generally participates in the intellectual life of the Matsui Center and the UC Berkeley campus. Miller’s primary public lecture will focus on Congress, labor, and income inequality, and will take place on Monday, October 19th at 4pm in Banatao Auditorium at UC Berkeley. Click here to register for the lecture. 

Congressman Miller was an extraordinary national leader with a long and distinguished record of service in Congress, but he is also deeply rooted in the politics and policy challenges of California," said Ethan Rarick, director of the Matsui Center. "We are immensely grateful that he will bring to Berkeley such a rich combination of national experience and California background."

“Being invited to be the 2015 Matsui Lecturer is a wonderful honor for me,” Miller said. “Congressman Robert Matsui was not only a great friend but a passionate thinker and fighter for economic and social justice.  He fully understood the obligation, power, and the duty that the United States Congress has to assure that those less fortunate and in need of assistance are able to fully participate in the American society and economy. Bob Matsui never stopped fighting for justice. He was a great role model for me and many other members of Congress who served with him.  I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me by the Matsui Center to engage Berkeley Campus students in the discussion of the critical issues of our time.”

Miller is widely recognized as a national leader on labor and education, as well as a force behind key environmental and health care legislation. While in Congress, he served as Chairman on both the House Committee on Education and Labor, and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Miller also established and chaired the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families.

Some of his key legislative acts include co-authoring the Republican-led No Child Left Behind Act, which mandated better education for minority and poor children; authoring the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight against pay discrimination; and helping to write and pass the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act.

After 40 years in office, his extensive legislative list also includes passing of the 1992 federal water law that required the Central Valley do more to protect fish and wildlife, expanding the federal student loan program, hiking the minimum wage, and incorporating physically handicapped children into mainstream classrooms.

Additionally, Miller was co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee for 10 years, during which his leadership is credited for helping Democrats retake the House in 2006, leading to Pelosi's historic ascension as the first female speaker of the House.

After retiring from congress in January, Miller was appointed senior education advisor for the Boston-based edtech services company Cengage Learning, where he will be providing advice to Cengage company executives on issues ranging from public policy to business strategy.

The Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service seeks to engage undergraduates in politics and public policy through internship programs, direct work with student political groups, and the presence of distinguished visitors on campus. The Matsui Center was founded in 2008 to honor the legacy of the late Congressman Robert T. Matsui, a Berkeley alum and one of California’s most distinguished public servants.

The Matsui Center is a component of the Institute of Governmental Studies, a multidisciplinary research unit of the University of California, Berkeley and California’s oldest public policy research center. IGS seeks to advance all three components of the University’s fundamental mission, conducting research, educating students, and engaging in public service.