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Barack Obama's labor secretary won't be George Miller, Miller says

November 13, 2008 |  9:40 am

There will be smart speculation about Barack Obama's picks for Cabinet posts, and there will be wrong speculation.

In the case of George Miller, the speculation may be smart and wrong.

The Associated Press named Miller as a possible Labor secretary last week. He would be a smart choice.

But in an interview with The Times this week, Miller seemed to dash the chatter, thereby shrinking by one the list of Californians who could become part of Obama’s inner circle.

The 63-year-old Democrat has been a member of Congress since 1975, representing parts of the East Bay. He is part of Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team and is chair of the House Education and Labor Committee.

He's also a sharp critic of President Bush, whose Labor secretary, Elaine Chao, he calls “one of the worst in history.”

In a recent piece for Huffington Post, Miller charged that Chao “repeatedly torpedoed rules designed to help workers,” including supporting the repeal of a rule to protect workers against repetitive motion injuries, the leading cause of workplace injuries.

So what of the talk of Miller as Labor secretary?

”Me? No. I am going to be the chair of the Education and Labor Committee, and I’m going to be a guy with a great big smile on my face,” Miller said.

Miller said he intends to take a lead on rewriting the No Child Left Behind law, and push legislation that would make it less difficult for unions to organize workers.

“I’d be honored to even be considered. But I think I can best serve this administration by being chair of the Education and Labor Committee," Miller said.

"I think I know how to legislate. I have a sense of what is doable. I know the issues. I think I can be a good partner as chair of the committee, both on education and labor matters.”

--Dan Morain

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