Retired State Senator Ray Miller was born in Hampton, Virginia on April 6, 1949. Miller graduated from East High School in Columbus, Ohio. He then attended Ohio State University and graduated with his B.S. degree in political science and his M.A. degree in public administration in 1971 and 1973, respectively. Miller was hired as the vice president for Columbus State Community College from 1975 to 1978. In 1976, he was appointed assistant director of legislation for the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees union (AFSCME)/Ohio Council 8. Miller then worked as a deputy special assistant to President Jimmy Carter from 1979 to 1980. After working for the White House, he returned to his vice president post at Columbus State Community College from 1975 to 1978. Miller returned to the post again from 1981 to 1986 and finally from 1987 to 1993. He was elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives in 1981 and again in 1998. In all, Miller served sixteen years in the Ohio House of Representatives, becoming dean of the state legislative body during his tenure. Miller was also appointed president of the National Urban Policy Institute in 1997 and president/CEO of the Professional Employment Services of America, a year later.
In 2003, he was elected to the Ohio State Senate, becoming the fourteenth African American elected to the Ohio Senate in the state's 205-year history. Miller also served as the minority whip of the Senate before his retirement in 2010. During his tenure as state senator, Miller was chief sponsor for legislation that helped to create the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the Community Mental Health Act of 1988 and the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, where he served as founder and chairman. Additionally, Miller is regarded as the "Father of Head Start Funding" in Ohio because of his sponsorship of legislation that established the nation's first state-level funding for the Head Start Program.
Miller also authored legislation which established the Institute for Urban Education at Central State University. He also established a 25% set aside for minority health programs from Ohio's $10 billion Tobacco Settlement Agreement. Miller is also the chief sponsor of legislation that led to the creation of the Ohio African-American Hall of Fame.
He has garnered numerous awards for his service, including Trailblazer Award from the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus; International Pathfinder Award from the World Congress on the Family; a Distinguished Legislator of the Year Award from the American Public Health Association and the President’s Award from the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Miller is the president of The Center for Urban Progress in Columbus, Ohio. He and his wife, Marty, have one son, Ray III.
Raymond Miller was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 2, 2012.