Councilwoman Miller opts out of re-election

City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller will not seek reelection to Philadelphia's Eighth District, leaving a wide open contest to represent Chestnut Hill, Mount Airy, Germantown and North Philadelphia.

Miller, 64, is in her fourth term. In 1995, she unseated Alvin Stewart, who won a special election in 1994 to fill the unexpired term of Herbert DeBeary, who died in office.

“It is time to give another person the opportunity to represent this wonderful district," Miller said in a news release.

At least six candidates have expressed interest in the seat.

" I never believed this position to be a lifetime job; and though I know I have political and physical ability to serve, it is the right time for me to move into another type of public service,” said Miller, a lifetime resident of Germantown who has struggled with health issues in recent years.

As leader of the 59th Ward in Germantown, Miller said she would eventually endorse a candidate for the Democratic primary.

She was a protege of the late state Rep. Dave Richardson, for whom she was a long-time staffer.

Miller was scheduled to retire in January as a participant in the city's deferred retirement option plan (DROP). A number of her colleagues, however, are expected to take their lump-sum DROP payments and return to work if reelected. Miller was not looking forward to a campaign in which she would be maligned for returning from DROP, friends have said. She will collect $195,782 when she leaves next January, in addition to her monthly pension check.

Her decision leaves at least three Council seats available in the 2011 elections, with Democrat Joan Krajewski out and Republican Jack Kelly headed for reitirement.

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