SHERIDAN — One of Sheridan’s own has tossed his hat in the ring to run against Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, for his U.S. Senate seat in the election this fall.
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Bryan Miller attended Holy Name Catholic School in junior high and graduated from Sheridan High School. He spent his childhood years in Cheyenne and participated in Boy’s State for Wyoming in high school.
Miller graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1988 and spent nearly 23 years in active duty, first as an air-refueling tanker pilot on training, combat and humanitarian support missions and then as an Air Force One presidential advance agent. He soon became chief of Presidential Advance and worked closely with the administrations for President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, various local, state and federal agencies, and U.S. embassies and foreign government agencies around the world to ensure the safe and timely travel of the president and senior cabinet members.
“It’s an interesting job because you, as the advance agent, get invited to a lot of meetings you wouldn’t expect to be going to. You get to sit in on the cabinet meetings and other things that you just never would have expected you would. Suddenly, you find yourself there and you sit in the corner and listen and learn. I had the opportunity to basically peek under the tent of two White House administrations and see how they do business as well as work with those administrations to improve the programs I was in,” Miller said.
In 1997 following his service for Air Force One, Miller was chosen to become the program chief at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., which enabled him to see the administration’s daily operations and work with the federal government’s interagency organizations.
But even with all his travels, Miller said he’s always considered Sheridan home. He currently resides here with his wife, Susan, and has an office in the back of his brother’s business, Fly Shop of the Big Horns, on Main Street. He said he is considering buying land in Whitney Plaza to build an office, an apartment and possibly some retail space.
Miller said as an Air Force officer for 23 years he couldn’t be that active in the political world. However, when an injury in 2011 forced him to retire from service, he started his own consulting firm, BEM Intl., that works with companies on energy infrastructure siting to determine the best place to locate operations to make the least impact on the environment, the local community and government missions with the ultimate goal of saving taxpayers from having to fix problems caused by energy operations including wind, oil and gas.
Working in the private sector for three and a half years has enabled Miller to look more closely at what is going on in the political world, and he hasn’t liked what he’s seen, he said.
“I’ve become more and more disappointed with what’s going on in Washington, D.C. In particular, watching the Senate go from the most respected deliberative legislative body in the world to kind of being a laughing stock and people just thinking it’s worthless, that strikes at my heart and soul because the constitution is very dear to me,” Miller said.
Miller said he carries a copy of the U.S. Constitution with him wherever he goes and references it often when he overhears people talking politics in airports or around town.
Miller said he is especially concerned with the lack of checks and balances in Washington, D.C., as well as ineffective rule making processes, the lack of separation of powers, the assault on the First, Second, Fourth and 10th Amendments and the increasing national debt.
While Miller likes Enzi and even voted for him, he said he has grown weary of hearing Enzi give the same speech time and again.
“I like the guy, but I don’t think he’s moving Wyoming forward at all. I think a lot of Wyoming’s values are not being put out there and being spoken often enough and loud enough in D.C. for people to realize we are a state, we’re one of the 50,” Miller said. “I get tired of the ifs, Is and thens. I think that I have a set of skills, like I talked about earlier, that I think I can go out there and make a difference. And I think I can make a difference sooner rather than later.”
Miller said some of his key skills are diplomacy, tenacity, an ability to look at a system as a whole and examine how actions lead to first, second and third order effects, which he learned in the military.
He said he will use his diplomatic skills to work with all member of Congress and promote Wyoming.
“Wyoming should be the battery for the nation, as far as I’m concerned. We could do it,” Miller said. “There’s three big things that are Wyoming: agriculture, energy and tourism. All three of those things in Wyoming work together well until Washington starts meddling with it, and then they start making them fight against each other, and that’s not healthy for the state. That doesn’t help the economy of the state and doesn’t help the people of Wyoming.”
Miller said one of the first things he would like to do in Congress is get the rule making power away from unelected bureaucratic groups and make sure final say on laws is returned to the House and Senate, which can be held accountable for their actions by the people’s vote.