50 years plus: Charles Mills

Published 1:11 pm Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Charles Mills is the Deputy Chair of the Mower County Republicans. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

When Charles Mills voted for democratic presidential hopeful John F. Kennedy in 1960, he didn’t expect to be deeply involved in the Republican Party 50 years later.

But why the party switch?

“I just don’t like what’s happening,” Mills said about the current political climate. “In the last many years our country is not going in the right direction. We’re spending more than we have.”

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Mills hasn’t always been directly involved with politics. In recent years, he started working with the Mower County Republicans and interacting directly with campaigns.

Not only is he the Mower County Republicans Deputy Chair, but Mills worked as State House hopeful Jennifer Gumbel’s campaign manager in the 2010 election.

Although Gumbel did not win her race, Mills was pleased with the result of elections throughout the state and hopes the now-Republican-controlled Legislature will make strides towards fixing the budget shortfall.

“This is going to be the litmus test,” he said. “They’re either going to do it, or they’re going to fail.”

Mills, as a conservative, believes the government cannot continue operating at its current pace, particularly fiscally. Unlike most liberals, he believes the opposite of the often-spoken phrase, “Government should be all things to all people.”

“It really boils down to personal responsibility,” he said. “We have to change our ways, and it’s going to be painful.”

“Our government’s charge is to protect us … not give us everything,” he added.

More than anything, Mills likes being involved in the community and serving the public. He views volunteering as a way to pay back the community for the fortune he has had throughout his life, and he enjoys the people he meets and the interactions that take place.

“If you think we need to make changes it begins on your block, in your house, in your mirrors,” he said.