Bryan Miller

Bryan Miller graduated from Young Harris College with a bachelor’s degree in business and public policy, he earned a law degree at Mercer University.

Credit: Capitol Beat News Service

The grandson of the late U.S. Sen. and Gov. Zell Miller is running for lieutenant governor on a platform that includes restoring full funding of the HOPE Scholarship program his grandfather started.

Bryan Miller of Watkinsville announced Thursday he will seek the Democratic nomination to succeed Republican Geoff Duncan as Georgia’s lieutenant governor. Duncan is not seeking re-election.

Miller recently stepped down as executive chairman of the Zell Miller Foundation, a nonprofit he launched in 2016 to build on the elder Miller’s legacy by focusing on education, leadership and public service.

Zell Miller, who died in 2018, was the driving force behind the Georgia Lottery, which voters approved in a 1992 referendum to raise money to start the HOPE program as well as statewide voluntary pre-kindergarten.

The General Assembly began reducing HOPE coverage in 2011, citing the financial stress growing college enrollments and rising tuition costs were putting on the program.

“I am running to restore the HOPE Scholarship back to its original promise of providing full tuition to any student who earns a ‘B’ average or higher,” Bryan Miller said. “Since my grandfather created it, nearly 2 million Georgians have gone to college on HOPE. Unfortunately, too few poor and minority students have been able to enjoy the full benefits of HOPE as intended.”

The younger Miller grew up in Young Harris. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business and public policy from Young Harris College, he earned a law degree at Mercer University.

Two other Democrats – state Reps. Erick Allen of Smyrna and Derrick Jackson of Tyrone – already have entered the race for lieutenant governor.

Republican candidates for the post include Georgia Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller of Gainesville and Jeanne Seaver, a GOP activist from Savannah.

Before being elected governor in 1990, Zell Miller served four terms as lieutenant governor. After two terms as governor, he was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and completed the unexpired term of Sen. Paul Coverdell after the Atlanta Republican died in office.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service.