by MINA TAKAHASHI
Last May, Drake University junior Nick Miller announced that he was running for a seat in the Iowa House. His opponent in District 19 is House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow. Miller’s campaign centers around three main themes: investing in economic development, reinvesting in public education and investing in a sustainable future.
Miller has worked with state legislators for the past two years, which has given him a good feel for what the job entails.
“I’ve always had a passion for being involved in public service, and I had always been thinking about it,” Miller said. “After talking to my academic advisor here we came to the consensus that we could make it work. I chose now because I figured why wait. There’s no downside to getting out there, and I genuinely want to make a difference in the state of Iowa.”
Miller initially applied to Drake as a theater major, but ended up switching to strategic political communications.
“I was always involved in community volunteering throughout high school, but I really had a passion for theater,” Miller said. “Between when I graduated high school and started college I switched my major over to strategic political communications, which was a much better fit for me.”
Miller’s opponent, Chris Hagenow, is originally from House District 43, but switched to District 19 in the 2018 election.
“In between 2016 and 2018, following a very close election in his former district, he actually moved districts,” Miller said. “He cited reasons for why the move actually happened, but, at the end of the day, he moved into a district that he was never focused on. So maintaining that power bothered me a little bit.”
Miller is a fifth-generation Iowan who grew up in District 19.
“I’m from the district, it’s my home, everything I am is because of that area,” Miller said. “I’ve been humbled and amazed at the amount of people who have come out and supported me. Even though they may disagree with me on every single policy, they’ve known me for a long time, they know I’m doing what I think is best for the district.”
Besides being a Drake student and running for office, Miller is also a small business owner.
“I thought I knew time management; I now know time management,” Miller said. “Balancing being self-employed and running my business, being a student, and running for office, are three major tasks that people usually take on individually. It’s a major balancing act, and I’m lucky to have friends and resources around me to support me through this process.”
Sophomore Adam Koch is very active in politics, and is supportive of younger candidates.
“It’s obviously unique, because the majority of legislators, whether it’s in the state house or just the local city government, are usually predominantly older and more established members,” Koch said. “I think it’s really cool to get a perspective of a younger audience, of a younger constituent, because, let’s be honest, if 100% of the council is fifty-year-old men, obviously 100% of the city is not fifty-year-old men.”
Koch has supported Miller throughout his campaign process.
“I’d encourage students to do this. However, if you want to talk about “Drake Busy,” because that’s obviously a big part of the conversation, technically running for office isn’t a Drake sponsored event,” Koch said. “It does feed into the Drake Busy mentality, but it’s incredible that Nick’s passionate about this and going for it, and I one hundred percent support him.”
For the time being, Miller’s focus is on serving Iowans.
“Anyone who wants to go into politics in one way or another at some point wants to run for public office,” Miller said. “I mean, that’s the dream, just representing the people. I can say that I really like Iowa. I think that Iowa has a lot of potential. So for now, I want to stay in Iowa, I want to stay in the Iowa House. I can’t really see myself moving anywhere else. Whether that’s a life in public service or in the private sector, who knows.”