Governor Hogan Honors the Life and Legacy of Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.
ANNAPOLIS, MD (STL.News) As the Maryland Senate paid tribute to President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Governor Hogan reflected on his lifelong friendship with the nation’s longest continuously serving presiding officer.
Following are the governor’s remarks as delivered:
“It’s an honor to have this opportunity to say a few words about my lifelong friend, Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. The First Lady and I extend our deepest sympathies to Mike’s family; to his incredible wife Patti, whose application for sainthood I have already submitted to the Holy Father; to their children, Tommy, Missy, Michelle, Melanie, and Amanda; to Mike’s eight surviving brothers and sisters, who got the experience of having Mike as the oldest brother; and of course to those 15 wonderful grandchildren.
“What an incredible father, grandfather, and brother you had, and how truly blessed your family was.
“President Ferguson, thank you for placing President Miller’s portrait right here in the back of the Senate chamber, where he’s staring at me right now with that smile of his, with that twinkle in his blue eyes. I’ve seen that look many times over the years, like he’s ready to lambast me if I go off course, maybe say something a little too partisan.
“So in his honor, I’m going to start out by saying something a little partisan. As hard as this may be to believe, Mike Miller actually got his start in politics campaigning for Republicans. I’m not sure where he went off track after that.
“But the year was 1962. Mike was 19 years old. He was campaigning for his Clinton neighbor, Frank Small, Jr., who was the Republican nominee for governor against J. Millard Tawes, and my dad was helping to run Frank Small’s campaign.
“Mike had two main jobs on that campaign: one was to get Frank Small elected governor, and also to occasionally babysit five-year-old me. Mike went 0 for 2 that year, and that may explain why after that election, he became a lifelong, committed, passionate Democrat.
“So as a kid, I was lucky enough to grow up looking up to and getting to know Mike Miller. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted nearly six decades, a friendship which survived some tough partisan elections on opposite teams, and maybe some, shall I say, overheated and colorful discussions over a few hard-fought legislative battles.
“But ours was a friendship which only grew deeper when I got sick with cancer, and then even more so when he did. And that’s not to say we didn’t have our moments. We had some beauties, trust me.
“When Mike was your opponent, you knew you were in for a battle, but when he was on your side, he was really on your side. We still spoke quite often even as his health declined and as recently as just last week.
“As always, Mike didn’t hesitate to let me know what I was doing wrong, but also how much he appreciated our relationship. Mostly, he wanted to reflect on how far we two Prince George’s County boys had come.
“That’s what always motivated Mike, he never forgot where he came from.
“Mike Miller was a great husband, father, and grandfather. He was a patriotic American, a proud Marylander, a lover of history, the most powerful senator, a prominent lawyer, a devout Catholic, and a passionate Terp—though not necessarily always in that order. Sitting on the court with him at Terps basketball games were some of my greatest moments with him.
“Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. worked for half a century in this historic State House—46 years right here in this very chamber. This is the first time since 1974, when I was in high school, that a session of the Senate of Maryland is meeting without Mike Miller as a member.
“As a student of history, Mike’s profound impact on the Senate and on the State of Maryland is truly historic. We can see Mike Miller’s legacy everywhere—not just in this chamber, but throughout the entire State of Maryland.
“Public education, higher education, the Chesapeake Bay, our healthcare system all bear the indelible mark of Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. But it is perhaps right here in this august body, in this chamber, where we see his greatest legacy and on these walls he forever joins Paca, Stone, Chase, Verda Welcome, and Charles of Carrollton.
“Within these historic walls, his indomitable spirit will live on forever, along with the values that he cherished and lived by: respect for tradition, separation of powers, the dignity of every Marylander, and the greatness of the State of Maryland that he loved so much.
“And so, Mike, it is fitting that you are brought here to these hallowed halls before your final rest. Welcome home, my friend. “On behalf of all the people of a grateful State of Maryland, we say thank you. Your legacy will not ever be forgotten. God bless you, and may you rest in peace.”