Oct. 4, 2010 -- Alaska's Joe Miller now has the solid support of the Republican establishment, but in an exclusive interview with ABC News, he makes it clear he's determined to shake-up Washington and the Republican party -- in a big way.
"We aren't going there to play ball, we're going to make sure things get done," Miller said in wide-ranging interview with Politico's Mike Allen and me over lunch at the Capitol Hill restaurant, We The Pizza. Miller wants to roll back the power and size of the federal government to a degree not seen for 70 years or more.
We asked him, for example, if there should be a federally mandated minimum wage, something that has existed since Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938.
"That is clearly up to the states," Miller said. "The state of Alaska has a minimum wage which is higher than the federal level because our state leaders have made that determination. The minimum level again should be the state's decision."
So there should not be a federal minimum wage?
"There should not be," Miller answered. "That is not within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government."
State Power Versus Federal Government
Running as a tea party insurgent, Miller defeated incumbent Senator Lisa Murkowski in a stunning upset to win the Republican nomination for Senate in Alaska.
A graduate of West Point and Yale University Law School, Miller wants to scale back the size and power of the federal government to the powers specifically listed in the Constitution.
"What I'd recommend that you do is go to the Constitution and look at the enumerated powers because what we have is something that we call the 10th amendment that says, look if it's not there if it's not enumerated, then it's delegated to the states," Miller said. "Everything that's not there is reserved to the states and the people."
Miller stood by his previous statement that federal unemployment insurance is also not authorized by the Constitution and that the decision on whether or not to provide unemployment benefits should be up to the states, as should virtually all federal regulations that don't relate to interstate commerce.
"It still makes far more sense to have those kinds of decisions made at the level closest to the people, where there is more accountability, less inefficiency, where there is more understanding of where the people ought to be and what the state role of government is," Miller said. "If you like big government, move to Massachusetts."
Miller is now locked in a three-way race against Democrat Scott McAdams and Murkowski, who is running as a write-in candidate.
Miller, 43, and his wife Kathleen have eight kids, ages 7 to 21. If he wins, he and his wife plan to move to Washington with the six kids who still live at home.
"We are moving here, yes," Miller told us.
But don't call him a Washingtonian.
"No we're still Alaskans," he said. "I can guarantee you that we're gonna spend most of our time in Alaska that we can outside of the duties that we have here."