The Interview With Raj Mathai

The Interview With Raj Mathai

In-depth interviews that go beyond one or two soundbites

The Interview: Congressman George Miller

Retiring Congressman George Miller talks to NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai about politics, his congressional roommates, and the one criticism he has of President Obama

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    NEWSLETTERS

    He's one of the longest serving members of congress. Now, with just a few months before Congressman George Miller retires, he sits down with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai for a candid interview. (Published Friday, May 9, 2014)

    It's far from a fancy restaurant, but if Congressman George Miller is back home in Contra Costa County, chances are pretty good he'll be having a meal at New Mecca Mexican Restaurant in Pittsburg.

    "I've been here for every one one of my election days to celebrate," Rep. Miller said.

    The restaurant, much like the 68-year-old congressman, is an institution. He played a key role in getting Obamacare passed, and in his final months in office, he is fighting to raise the minimum wage again.

    That doesn't mean he doesn't have criticism for President Obama, especially when it comes to working with congress.

    "He didn't engage the Congress enough early on, for whatever reasons I don't know, but Congress is his partner whether he likes it or not, whether he thinks it's necessary or not," Rep. Miller said. "I just wish it would have been done in a much earlier phase in his term in office because he's so talented and he really understands what needs to be done."

    The left-leaning Democrat from California's 11th Congressional District is known for working across the aisle to get bills passed.

    "Most of my big, big national successes were all bipartisan. I worked with very conservative members of congress," Rep. Miller said. "Ted Kennedy and I worked with John Boehner to get education reform."

    When Rep. Miller announced his retirement earlier this year, the Speaker of the House acknowledged they would never be "political soul mates" but praised him for getting things done together.

    He may have worked with Rep. Boehner, but when it came to living arrangements, he's sticking with Democrats.

    "I've had wonderful roommates," Rep. Miller said with a laugh. "They may be wonderful, but not all of them keep a clean house. "Chuck Schumer's a tough one. Leon Panetta, he had hospital corners on his bed. You could bounce a quarter off his bed. I think we believe Chuck has not made his bed in 30 years."

    While he may miss the camaraderie of his roommates, he won't miss the commute.

    "It's a tough commute," Rep. Miller said. "I think United told me a couple of months ago that I had 5 million miles."