Tony Miller is a lawyer, former prosecutor, small business person, civic activist, and proud father serving on the Jackson County Legislature in the 3rd District At-Large seat, running for reelection.
Tony on the Issues
Accountability to the Taxpayer
Any elected official’s number one priority is to be a trustworthy steward of the taxpayers’ dollars. One place that I am working for change is in budgeting and spending your tax money. The budget is the document that states what our priorities are and what we value. Regretfully, I have had to vote “No” on the budget more than once because it has not represented the values of my constituents or met their needs. I have been having conversations in the community about considering the concept of equity in the use of resources instead of simply horse-trading over pet projects between the legislative districts. In other words, we should be figuring out collectively what the needs of the community are and respond by budgeting to meet those needs.
A New Jail is Needed
The study commissioned by the Legislature in 2017 and other findings from many different sources all suggest that we need a new jail. We could spend a fortune to renovate the existing Jail and it would still not be able to be accredited or meet federal mandates. It will not be easy to decide where to build the jail, how many people it should hold, or how it should be paid for; however, I am committed to working with community stakeholders to make sure that we get this right.
The current push to rush through Charter changes is one of the main reasons that I am running again. With your help, we will work to stop these proposals to weaken the Executive and create an imbalance of power between the branches of government. The current proposals are designed to enrich elected officials through pay raises and limit the choices of voters through the implementation of term limits. By contrast, I am in favor of working with the Executive to convene a Charter Review Commission, during the next term, whose members are subject to legislative approval. Through this process, we can deliberatively and thoughtfully consider all proposals for changing the Charter and get real community input into what should be placed on the ballot. When we review the Charter, we should be armed with the findings from the State Auditor about County financial practices. We should also have the findings of the Jail Task Force and the other professional assessments that are ongoing about the Jail and how it is run before we decide what changes should be made.
It is imperative that any government play an active role in fostering economic development. Not only is Jackson County no different, but we must take the lead in bringing good-paying jobs to this community. We can do this both directly and indirectly. Examples of direct involvement are the renovation of the Truman Courthouse and Courthouse Annex in Independence. These multi-million dollar construction projects not only create good-paying jobs for the construction workers, but they also have a positive impact on Jackson County service delivery and Jackson County court system. Jackson County can also encourage development by promoting projects like the proposed regional rail system. Studies from all across the country have shown that similar projects have resulted in billions of dollars of private investment.
As a former assistant Jackson County Prosecutor, I was on the front lines of making sure criminals were brought to justice and taken off the streets. After leaving the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office I continued my service in pursuit this community’s safety by serving on, then chairing, the Jackson County Drug Commission. Our job was to make recommendations on how to allocate the Drug Tax proceeds to both law enforcement agencies as well as drug treatment and prevention organizations, among others entities. The end result was a holistic approach to the issue of drugs in our community, and its one that I’m very proud of. At the end of my time on the Commission, we started the process of tackling violence and recognizing its nexus to drug crime. As a legislator, I am continuing my public safety work as a member of the Anti-Drug Committee.
I began my career as an assistant prosecutor in the Jackson County Prosecutor’s office, and later served Jackson County on the COMBAT board before being elected to the County Legislature. From my time in these, positions I am uniquely familiar with Jackson County government. Currently, I am a practicing attorney in private practice, and I run a small business.
I grew up in Jackson County, and I continue to call it my home along with my wife and two daughters. The previous 3rd District, At Large legislator spent forty plus years of his life serving Jackson County, and I know that the residents of Jackson County are expecting the same type stable leadership from me.
I am committed to a Jackson County government that provides the most services possible per taxpayer dollar – a government that is as efficient as possible. I also want to see Jackson County be an active participant in fostering job creation in this region. Finally, I want Jackson County to be a place where families feel safe raising and educating their kids.
Born in Iowa, moved to Jackson County, Missouri in 1985. Fort Osage High School Class of 1994, Baker University Class of 1998 (B.A. – Political Science), University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law Class of 2001 (J.D.). Lived in Kansas City, Missouri (Midtown – 1998-2001)(Waldo – 2001-2010). Currently live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri (Lakewood).
For a more detailed professional biography, visit Tony’s professional profile page.
Grad School: UMKC School of Law ’01, Juris Doctor, Law
College: Baker University(Official) ’98
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science
High School: Fort Osage High School ’94