ITAA's Miller may seek Senate seat

Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America, is considering running for the Senate next year against Virginia Republican incumbent George Allen.

“I’m exploring a possible Senate candidacy and will make my decision in the near future,” Miller said in a telephone interview. Miller is expected to announce his decision within the next two weeks.

Miller has been considering a run for the Senate since October, even before Virginia governor-elect Tim Kaine, a Democrat, won the gubernatorial election against Jerry Kilgore in what observers say is voter endorsement of the centrist legacy of Gov. Mark Warner. Democrats also saw it as a referendum against Republican policies nationwide.

Miller is likely to resign from ITAA to run for Senate, and the association’s board will have to decide who will replace him on both an interim and permanent basis.

A well-known figure in Northern Virginia’s high-tech world, Miller ran unsuccessfully for the House in 1984 and also served a stint as chairman of the Fairfax County Democratic Party.

Since then, he has been active in growing the technology organization and crafting positions for the organization that represents 350 high-tech companies. ITAA has spoken out on a wide range of issues from offshore outsourcing to delayed security clearances.

Recently, Miller said the failure to deal with interoperable communications for first responders is a critical failure of government.

But he also said federal decision-makers must look beyond just freeing spectrum. They must also look at more inexpensive technology fixes that allow incompatible communications systems to communicate with one another. The focus on spectrum is a "failure to appreciate how far technology has advanced," he said.

“Certainly Harris has lots of valuable experience and would be a credible candidate should he decide to run,” said Kate Hanley, a Democrat and former chairwoman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “Republicans can’t count on Virginia to be a safe Republican state as they used to.”

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