Former congressman and Seattle city councilman John R. Miller dies at 79

SEATTLE -- Former U.S. Rep. John R. Miller, a Republican who represented the Seattle area in Congress for nearly a decade and previously served on the Seattle City Council, died Wednesday in Corte Madera, Calif., after a long battle with cancer, the Discovery Institute said. He was 79.

Miller was a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

Miller, a native of New York and graduate of Bucknell University and Yale Law School, was elected to the Seattle City Council in 1971 as part of a reform group called CHECC (Choose an Effective City Council). He was instrumental in rehabilitating the Pike Place Market, originating housing for the poor and creating the P-Patch municipal garden program. He served on the council from 1972-79.

In 1984, Miller was elected to Congress, where he served until 1993. While in Congress he championed human rights in the Soviet Union, China and South Africa.

In 1993, Discovery Institute said, Miller and his former chief of staff, Bruce Agnew, founded the Cascadia program at Discovery Institute in Seattle to promote Northwest regional cooperation, especially on transportation issues. He also taught at Yeshiva High School in Mercer Island.

President George W. Bush in 2002 appointed Miller as U.S. ambassador-at-large on human trafficking. He retired as ambassador in 2006.

In August, Amazon published "The Man Who Could Be King," a novel by Miller about a critical decision in the life of George Washington.

John Miller is survived by one son, Rip, and two grandchildren, John and Mizzatelli.

Discovery Institute will help plan a memorial service in Seattle.