Attorney General Tom Miller Biography
Tom Miller is serving in his eighth four-year term as Attorney General of Iowa.
He was born August 11, 1944, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of the late Elmer and Betty Miller. Tom grew up in Dubuque, where his father was the longtime county assessor and an inspiration for Tom's early interest in public service. Tom graduated from Wahlert High School in 1962 and Loras College in 1966, and he received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1969.
After law school, Tom served as a VISTA volunteer in Baltimore, Maryland,for two years, and then as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative John C. Culver (D-IA.) He returned to the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau as legal education director, and he also taught part-time at the Maryland School of Law. In 1973, Tom returned to live in Iowa. He opened a law practice in McGregor in northeast Iowa and served as city attorney of McGregor and Marquette, Iowa. He ran for Attorney General in 1974.
Tom has served as Attorney General of Iowa since he was first elected in 1978, except for four years when he was in private practice as a partner at the Des Moines office of the Faegre & Benson Law Firm (1991-94.)
January 2, 2003: Attorney General Tom Miller taking oath of office administered by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Louis Lavorato, with Tom's son, Matt, at his side.
Attorney General Tom Miller has earned a reputation for integrity, high quality legal work, and strong work on behalf of ordinary Iowans. He has a long record of achieving results through cooperation with other State Attorneys General and with local, state and federal officials, regardless of their political affiliation. He has served as President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and received NAAG's Wyman Award as the Attorney General who contributed most to NAAG and its members. He has chaired several NAAG committees and led major multi-state working groups working on tobacco issues, antitrust enforcement, agriculture, and consumer protection.
Tom is well known for his work to prevent crime and assist crime victims, to protect consumers, and to be an advocate for farmers:
Fighting crime has always been one of his top priorities. The Attorney General's Office continues its strong record handling many of the State's most important and difficult criminal prosecutions and arguing all of the State's criminal appeals before the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. Tom and his office also have focused on fighting juvenile crime and working for improvements in the juvenile justice system. The office also provides extensive assistance to victims of crime, including crime victim compensation and support for local programs that aid victims.
Protecting consumers is one of Tom Miller's highest priorities. His office pioneered the undercover telephone 'sting' that sharply reduced telemarketing crime that cheated older Iowans and people all over the nation. He tackled the issue of questionable sweepstakes that prey on senior citizens, and his office has helped tens of thousands of Iowans with problems ranging from automobile complaints to telemarketing abuse and charity fraud. His office also has organized projects to protect small businesses from consumer fraud.
Working for farmers has always been a mission for Attorney General Miller, who established the nation's first Farm Division in an attorney general's office when he took office in 1978. The Farm Division has led the way in successful cases against agricultural chemical companies, helped hundreds of farmers get a fair shake from a huge pipeline project cutting across their farmland, led a group of states insisting on compensation to farmers and elevators who suffer losses resulting from StarLink genetically modified corn, and pushed for laws to protect farmers who enter contracts with large agribusinesses.
And Tom Miller is fighting for kids and taxpayers as he continues the campaign to reduce the enormous death toll and financial costs of tobacco addiction and disease. He was a leader in the multi-state settlement agreement that resulted in the tobacco industry paying billions of dollars to the states and changing the way it conducts business. Now Miller is working to reduce youth addiction and the death count of five thousand Iowans who die every year from tobacco-related disease.
"I consider it my duty and my privilege to be the people's lawyer," Miller says. "I am deeply grateful for being able to serve as Attorney General of Iowa."