Millard announces candidacy for U.S. Congress

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

AndyMillard(photo by Erik Olsen)Web

Tryon business owner and Polk County resident Andy Millard announced he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 10th Congressional District in 2016.

Millard cannot file for the seat until the official filing period in February 2016 but has already registered with the federal election committee in order to raise funds. The filing also puts Millard under the financial disclosure requirements. Millard can file next year with the state board of elections office in Raleigh.

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Millard said he is making the announcement now because word began to spread recently after he informed his clients of his plans. He has already formed an early campaign committee, started fundraising efforts and says he will soon begin an ambitious schedule to visit the district.

Millard is the owner and principal of Millard & Company, financial planning and investment firm, located in the historic Tryon Depot, which Millard renovated.

Millard is a political newcomer but says, “Service is at the core of who I am. I’ve spent my life working with lots of different people in lots of different settings and we accomplish great things when we work together. I refuse to believe that we can’t do the same thing in Congress.”

Millard said like the rest of the state, he has watched the corrosive effects of unlimited money on the legislative process and in the lives of middle class Americans.

“The sad truth is that the checkbook has displaced the ballot box,” said Millard. “Everyone gets one vote at the ballot box, but a small handful of people with unlimited checkbooks use their advantage to swamp the system with a tsunami of money. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and everyone knows it.”

Millard said he realizes there are those that warn the system will overwhelm him and turn him to “the dark side,” but he says if that’s true, “we might as well give up right now.”

“I’ve been around a while,” Millard said, “I know who I am deep down to my core. Things can change-they really can-but it has to start with us, the voters, here and now. We can’t expect the folks who are up there now to change. Nothing will ever get better if we keep sending the same people with the same cynical attitudes.

“We need a dose of common sense combined with common courtesy, so that we can find common ground and get things done.”

Born in Flint, Mich., Millard moved to Spartanburg, S.C. at age 14 and graduated from Dorman High School. His father was president of the S.C. School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB), while his mother was a teacher at SCSDB.

He holds a B.A. from Presbyterian College and a M.A. in speech communication from Wake Forest University.

Millard taught school for seven years at Grier Junior High School in Gastonia before becoming assistant principal at Holbrook Junior High, then Hunter Huss Senior High in Gaston County.

At 35 years old, Millard moved to Polk County to become the first principal of the new, merged Polk County High School. He left education in 1994 to enter financial services where he is now the owner of Millard & Company.

Millard said he plans to run his business part-time while campaigning.

Millard said while working in public schools he developed a passion for young people and an abiding respect and appreciation for the adults who make education their life’s work. He said he also learned that one person can make a positive difference in the lives of hundreds, even thousands of others.

During Millard’s 34 years of living in the 10th Congressional District, he has been involved with many organizations, including the Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce (president, volunteer of the year and hall of fame inductee); the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival (general chairman for eight years); Kiwanis International (Tryon president, Kiwanian of the year, Landrum Kiwanis club founder and Kiwanian of the year; co-president of Financial Planning Association of Western North Carolina; emcee for fundraising luncheons and dinners at the Hospice of the Carolina Foothills; board of visitors with Presbyterian College; Finance Committee and Slater Committee with the Polk County Community Foundation; deacon and Sunday School teacher for the Congregational Church of Tryon; volunteer coach for youth baseball, basketball and soccer; a volunteer for annual events including Tryon’s Super Saturday Children’s Theater Festival, Tryon’s annual Halloween Stroll and the Block House Steeplechase and has served numerous times as an impartial moderator for local candidate forums.

Millard has also written two books and in his spare time runs marathons and half marathons. He and his wife Sharon live in the Columbus Township and have a grown son, Drew, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif.

Millard is seeking the Democratic bid against current Congressman Patrick McHenry (R), who is serving his sixth term in the U.S. Congress. McHenry lives in Denver, N.C.

North Carolina’s 10th District includes Rutherford, Polk, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln and Catawba Counties as well as part of Buncombe County, including the City of Asheville.