A great steak isn’t the only thing U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller knows how to “fire up,” if Friday’s crowd at the Boca Raton Republican Club was any indication.
The former CEO of Ruth’s Chris steakhouse surprised a few guests when a speech about his humble beginnings as a dishwasher quickly led to strong words of advice to young people and protesters, who, Miller said, “believe their government has failed to take care of them.”
The Senate hopeful’s advice to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators: “Get off your ass, get a job.” They were just some of the sharp words that exemplified the theme of self-reliance dominating Miller’s message.
Miller called himself the only candidate who is not a politician, outlining his experience in the private sector as a “job creator.” After a summary of his resume, which includes more than 40 years in the restaurant business and a hand in creating more than 40,000 jobs, Miller called out the GOP “career politicians” competing to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, candidates he said have spent their entire life running for office. Miller was specific in his description of such a candidate: someone who begins his political career at age 28, only few years out of college.
“By the time you are ready to run for the office of United States Senate, if that’s all you’ve ever done, as far as I’m concerned, you’re not qualified to run for United States Senate,” Miller said. “You are not qualified to run for U.S. Senate just because you have been elected for public office. In fact, I think that with the way things are working in D.C. right now, that might be a disqualification to running for U.S. Senate.”
Miller added that unless a candidate has spent a sleepless night wondering if he is going to make payroll, he should not represent the public in D.C.
“It’s easy to understand why Craig Miller held everyone’s attention from start to finish,” said club President Margi Helshien. “Craig’s speech was very relevant to us and our current issues, and everyone came away with something valuable.”
Longtime club member and Republican activist Amy Hair was impressed with Miller’s pro-business speech.
“Since I voted against every career politician in the last few elections, Craig Miller is a very appealing candidate to me,” Hair said. “Anyone who goes from being a dishwasher to CEO of a major restaurant chain ‘gets it’ when it comes to running a business.”
Robert Rodenberg, CEO of CompuTEE, a global company based in West Palm Beach, understands what he describes as “the chronic climate of economic stagnation,” and relates to Miller as a businessman.
“All in all, I found nothing materially flawed about Mr. Miller. In fact, I would vote for him,” Rodenberg said. “But I do think he should fine-tune his political sales pitch. He is about to face off with some real stiff competition.”
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