The Quiet Return of Barbara Miller





The just completed primary marked the quiet return of Barbara Miller.

I can trace at least four winning judicial campaigns to Miller associates:

Judges Ken Gillespie, Barbara McCarthyJohn Luzzo and judicial candidate Sandra Perlman.

Those campaigns had the help of Amy Rose and Mike Kaplan, who worked extensively with Miller in the past.  Miller met with some of the candidates and gave them advice, but Rose and Kaplan did the heavy lifting.

Admired for her long role as a political consultant in Broward, Miller was always interested in judicial campaigns.  Judicial campaigns were a family affair.

Husband James Fox Miller is a Hollywood lawyer and past president of the Florida Bar.

Because of all the publicity about her role in School Board campaigns and her former lobbying — most of it inaccurate, she says. —  Miller is keeping a very low profile these days.

It didn’t prevent her from having a quiet role in her first love — judicial campaigns.

“My goal was always to make the courts better,” Miller said.

Miller has a famed check list for attorneys seeking her services.

  • You had to be a top AV rated lawyer.
  • You had to be taking a pay cut to be a judge.
  • You had to have a leadership role in the community.  “It wasn’t good enough to just be a member of an organization, she explained.
  • You had to have at least 10 years of legal experience.

And years ago, candidates had to get past a screening by local legal star and former state Sen. Skip Campbell, former president of the Florida Bar and now Nova Southeastern University President Ray Ferrero Jr. and her husband.

A candidate could pass the test and still Miller would refuse the job.  She would even turn down campaigns when she had too many clients.  She could do that because Miller is well-to-do and didn’t need campaign to live.  She often didn’t take a fee.

Miller’s goal has always been to get good judges elected.  If every candidate used Miller’s check to determine whether they were ready for the bench, the courthouse would be a better place.

It’s good to see her involved once more, even if much of the work is through others.

13 Responses to “The Quiet Return of Barbara Miller”

  1. knowledge says:

    is there anyone Gillespe didnt hire wowwwwwwwwwwww,u wont see him no more.there is no gillespe

  2. Insider says:

    Barbara is a good and decent woman. Most of the bad publicity she’s received is unfounded. She does little lobbying and is an excellent strategist. Her clients love her because she’s brutally honest with them. That’s why she’s cultivated many friendships in this community.

  3. Marc Dickerman says:

    I had the pleasure of working for Barbara Miller on a couple of campaigns. She is nothing but ethical, professional and always a lady.

    I for one am glad to see she has not lost her touch.

  4. Buddy says:

    This post was about the judicial races.
    Miller was also in the background of Sue Gunzburger’s victorious campaign. She helped organize the grass roots operation in the South Broward race, along with Amy Rose and Beth Lerner. Michael Kaplan did the direct mail pieces.

  5. C.A.R. says:

    Who’s Frank?

    FROM BUDDY: Nobody. I made a mistake and corrected it. Thanks.

  6. beth says:

    That’s my Mom. I am very proud of all the work she does, but most proud of her job as a Mom and Grandmother.

  7. Lori Parrish says:

    Kudos to the kind words about Barbara, as a professional, a friend and as a Grandmother. She does an outstanding job at all of them.

    I’m proud to have had her assistance on all of my campaigns.

    Lori Parrish

  8. Democrat says:

    Thanks for writing about the real Barbara Miller, Buddy.
    The Barbara I know has dedicated hours upon hours, year after year, to make this community a better place. You have captured that Barbara beautifully. Thank you.

  9. Amy Rose says:

    Thanks for the nice post about Barbara.

    As I told her last weekend, I’m fortunate and honored to have her as a mentor and friend.

  10. G.B. says:

    Nice piece Buddy. I heartily concur.

  11. imjustbeachy says:

    I have nothing but the highest regard for Barbara. I have known her, observeed her talents and admired her skills for many decades. She has always been an insightful, highly dedicated and honest community activist and consultant. It is good to see and hear the truth being exposed by so many here. She deserves a community generated recognition for all she has done and continues to do for our county . Barbara is a love. I have told her often over the years that when I decide to grow up, I want her to train me to be like her!

  12. Sue Gunzburger says:

    Barbara has been with me in every election I have run, except in 1992. She has always been there with excellent advice, good people skills and pushed me to do all that I needed to do to win. She had the winning ground plan for this campaign. She cares about Broward and only wants the best for our county.
    Sue Gunzburger

  13. Obama, Democrats Start Early In Broward : says:

    […] did well in the 2010 judicial races, which I wrote about here. Miller and state Party Chair Rod Smith are long-time […]