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Local delegate helping shape Reform Party

Published Oct. 2, 2005

This weekend, Oldsmar real estate agent Janice Miller is taking part in political history as a delegate at the "national founding convention" of the Reform Party.

Miller, 55, is one of several hundred delegates at the convention in Kansas City, Mo.; it started Friday and ends today. Miller, the chairman of the county party, was selected from among four candidates to represent the 9th Congressional District.

"I'm very excited," Miller said last week as she prepared for the event. "It's going to be history-making."

Miller was a lifelong Republican until 1994, when she began exploring the third party being promoted by Texas tycoon Ross Perot, who had lost a 1992 bid for the presidency.

She liked what she heard. The Reform Party advocates a balanced budget, campaign and lobbying reforms, strict ethical standards for government officials, term limits and a revamping of the tax system.

"This is a party for the people," Miller said. "It is very ambitious, but it is the only way this country is going to survive."

Delegates at the convention are voting on the party's national officers and taking part in committee meetings and sessions on issues. Among the scheduled speakers are Perot, his 1996 vice presidential running mate, Pat Choate, and human rights activist Harry Wu.

Miller, who is a member of the city planning board and follows local politics, said many Americans are disheartened by what is happening in national politics. The Reform Party, she believes, can change that.

"Everything is going to be different," she said. "We have principles."