A former police officer who now owns a Columbus business has announced his intention to run as a Republican in the spring primary for one of three Bartholomew County Council at-large seats.

Matt Miller, 29, who owns Raft to Rafters Pool and Spa at 25th Street and Talley Road, says the budget crisis experienced by the county this year is not going away on its own.

“Hope and change is not a cure,” said Miller, who also founded an air services company. “I know the priorities and obligations of county government and realize tough choices will have to be made.”

There was no one cause for the county’s fiscal crisis, the Hartsville resident said. He added there’s little to nothing the council can do to increase revenue at the state level or lower health care costs.

But Miller emphasized he would support a tax increase only as a last resort after exhausting all possible options. Instead, he said he believes revenue can be raised by increasing the tax base through a variety of economic development efforts.

If the current council thinks the budget challenges were bad this year, next year will be even worse, Miller said.

“We haven’t done anything to fix it,” he said. “We need to generate more revenue, and I’m open to all options. I just don’t want to increase taxes.”

Miller, a former full-time law enforcement officer with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, still serves as a reserve deputy.

“As a former county employee and as a business owner, I’ve seen both sides of it,” Miller said.

“We have to listen to both taxpayers and county employers, and balance what they are saying.”

Current at-large council members are Evelyn Pence, Jim Reed and Bill Lentz, all Republicans. All are up for re-election.

Candidates cannot officially declare their candidacies for the 2016 elections until after Jan. 1.

Matt Miller

Matthew David “Matt” Miller

Age: 29

Residence: Hartsville.

Education: 2005 graduate of Trinity Lutheran High School; Airline Transport Professionals, multi-engine flight instructor and instrument flight instructor, 2008; associate and bachelor’s degree in aviation flight technology, Purdue University, 2009 graduate; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, 2009; Tucker School of Real Estate, Indiana real estate sales license, 2010.

Occupation: President and owner of Raft To Rafters Pool and Spa, reserve deputy with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department. Formerly a full-time deputy sheriff.

Past political experience: 2013 Bartholomew County delegate to the Indiana Republican Convention.

Personal and professional memberships: National Flight Instructors Association, Purdue University Alumni Association, Rotary International and Fraternal Order of Police, Instructor for the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals.  

Community involvement:  Board member for the Villages/Community Partners for Child Safety, former board member for Leadership Bartholomew County, volunteer with Our Hospice of South Central Indiana, member of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

Honors: Named one of The Republic “20 Under 40” Columbus Young Professionals, 2011.

Family: Wife, Lisa (King) Miller.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.