By Nich Wolak
U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Shelby Twp.) was in the area on Monday to talk to local officials and take several lighthouse tours.
Miller touched on a variety of subjects in a townhall-style meeting with the Harbor Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Miller said that she expected a new farm bill before the end of the year, despite having a lame-duck Congress. She said that both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were adamant about getting one done, and that it was too important not too.
Miller did say that she thought subsidies would continue to be phased out in light of the budget deficit.
"One of the things that is very important to our farmers ... is making sure that our farmers do have an adequate safety net," Miller said. "This is important. Federally subsidized crop insurance is sort of taking the place of these direct payments. There's a lot of debate about that. Many people say that the federal government shouldn't be involved in that kind of thing. I personally I do not believe that. Believe me, I'm a fiscal conservative. But if you don't think that farmers need a safety net, you can just think about the drought that we just (had). Having a safe and good food supply is an important thing for the nation."
Miller said that she was generally in favor of less government regulation, and that "completely overreaching" emissions regulations and standards were partly to blame for the planned closing of the local Detroit Edison (DTE) Power Plant.
"All of us want to have clean water, clean air, clean soil, etc.," Miller said. "We all want to be green. But we also want to have a little green in our wallet, which means you have to have a job to go to every day. This is a case in point of how government over-regulations can sometimes impact a small community, or even a larger community, from that standpoint."
Miller said she was hopeful that DTE would help employees find new jobs. She said that she has been, and would continue to be, in communication with local officials about how to move forward.
"The amount of taxes that are lost in the community is devastating," Miller said. "There's no way to sugar coat it. It's going to be tough. We want to stand by to assist however we can."
Miller also described herself as a lifetime boater before saying that she loved lighthouses and saw them as a great way to increase tourism.