Miller, Hill Seek GOP Nod in 72



A long-time leader in health care on the Gulf Coast faces a prominent media figure in the region in the race to represent state House District 72 in the Florida Legislature. Mercedes Medical CEO Alex Miller and retired SNN Anchor John Hill fight for the Republican nomination, with the winner advancing to one of the important House races in the Sunshine State this November.

Hill finished his most recent stint in television news in March, closing 11 years on SNN, which followed an eight-year stint on local ABC7 from 1987 to 1995. Within weeks of Hill’s retirement, incumbent state Rep. Ray Pilon, R-Sarasota, announced he would leave his seat to run for Senate, and Hill decided to throw his hat in the ring. He hopes decades following the impact of legislation on the community prepares him for work in Tallahassee, and notes recent instances where the state has fallen short in tackling issues. “The Zika virus right now threatens the state’s economy when we’re expecting 100 million visitors,” he says. “But have you seen airplane spraying for mosquitoes here? We ought to be attacking mosquitoes throughout the state.” He would also like to see higher pay for teachers and a prioritization of state services like indigent health care. 

Miller, who left a seat on the Sarasota County Public Hospital Board to run for this seat, has been hitting the airwaves with a barrage of ads to bring name recognition parity between herself and Hill. She has also walked door-to-door in the region, promising to preserve school choice options in Florida while improving local control of education. She and Hill have both spoken out about the state accepting Medicaid money, but she has recently pushed for free market solutions to help the 850,000 Floridans without health care. She has voiced support for open carry laws. “But I would like to see the same waiting period for rifles as we have for handguns,” she says. “That doesn’t seem congruent right now.” And she also wants see she a review of Florida education standards giving greater voice to parents and teachers.

Hill and Miller face each other in the August 30 Republican primary. The district is located entirely in Sarasota County, including much of the cities of Longboat Key and Sarasota. Hill has raised just $605 in donations but contributed $10,000 of his own into the race. Miller has pulled in $87,797 in donations and put $50,000 as a personal loan. The winner of the primary goes up against well-funded Democrat Edward James III, who raised $100,133 in donations, in the November general election.

Pictured: Alex Miller, John Hill.

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