Seattle, Oct. 4, 2017 | John Ripin Miller, a political leader from Seattle for over 20 years and a highly acclaimed human rights diplomat, died today in Corte Madera, CA, according to Discovery Institute. He had struggled with cancer for several years. In August, Amazon published The Man Who Could Be King, a well-received novel by Miller about a critical decision in the life of George Washington. Mr. Miller was a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute, and founder of its Cascadia Center on Regional Transportation.
In the 1971 Seattle municipal election, Miller, a native of New York and graduate of Bucknell University and Yale Law School, was elected to the Seattle City Council as part of a reform group called CHECC (Choose an Effective City Council). He was instrumental in rehabilitating the Pike Place Market, originating housing for the poor and creating the P-Patch municipal garden program. With Council colleague Bruce Chapman, he was an early proponent of eliminating the Alaska Way Viaduct.
In 1984, Miller was elected to Congress, where he served until 1993. Among his emphases was liberation of Eastern European states such as Croatia from Communist rule and improvement of life for Soviet Jews. He helped effect the transfer of Sand Point Naval Air Station (now Magnusson Park) in Seattle from federal to municipal control. In 1993 he and his former Chief of Staff, Bruce Agnew, founded the Cascadia program at Discovery Institute in Seattle to promote Northwest regional cooperation, especially on transportation issues. He also taught at Yeshiva High School in Mercer Island, WA and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley.
President George W. Bush in 2002 appointed Mr. Miller Ambassador-at-Large on human trafficking, in which post Miller achieved official and media praise for his ardent efforts to combat modern slavery around the world. He retired as ambassador in 2006.
Bruce Chapman, who also was Miller’s colleague at Discovery Institute, described the recent launch of The Man Who Could Be King at a Seattle book party in late August, as “a triumph of what has turned out to be the last stage of John’s extraordinary career in public service. It was thrilling for his old friends to see that this man who had been a leading lawyer, activist, politician and diplomat, also was able to write a truly compelling novel about one of his great heroes, George Washington.”
John Miller has one son, Rip (married to Elizabeth), and two grandchildren, John and Mizzatelli. He was married twice and had, in Stephanie Brown, a close companion of many years.
Mr. Miller, by Jewish custom, will be interred shortly. Discovery Institute will help plan a memorial service in Seattle.