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Maryland state Senate president Miller uses cane, says he has a bad hip and knee

Sen. Mike Miller was sworn in once again as president of the Maryland Senate during the first day of Maryland General Assembly. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun video)

Longtime state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller used a cane Wednesday on the first day of Maryland’s General Assembly session and said he has hip and knee problems.

“People have been wondering about my health. I’ve got a cane. I’ve got a bad hip. I’ve got a bad knee,” Miller told reporters after Wednesday’s Senate session.

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Miller, 76, said he would talk more Thursday about his health.

“As long as I’m healthy, I’m going to be here. I’m going to stay here until the band stops playing,” he said.

Miller stayed home Tuesday — a busy day leading up to the start of the session — with what his aides said was an illness. That meant he didn’t speak, as scheduled, at a lunch with Democratic delegates and senators.

Miller, a Democrat, was re-elected Wednesday to lead the Senate.

“These guys are the band. If they want me to step down, I’ll step down,” he added.

At other times in the past few years, Miller used a cane around the State House complex. Miller raised his cane in the air Wednesday and joked he planned to use it against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration.

Miller also used his personal issues to talk about policy.

“As at the age where I’m at the pharmacy every other day myself, I know what the cost of drugs are. …. I’m going to try to resolve these issues; they’re very costly issues,” he said.

An attorney, Miller was first elected in 1970 to the House of Delegates. He moved to the Senate in 1974.

Miller’s counterpart in the House, Speaker Michael Busch, has faced his own health challenges. Busch, 72, had heart bypass surgery last September. And in 2017, Busch received a liver donation from his sister after being diagnosed with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Hogan also has overcome a serious health issue. Months after taking office in 2015, Hogan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. After treatment, he was declared cancer-free.

While speaking Wednesday in the House of Delegates, Hogan referred to the health issues he and Busch have endured, acknowledging they are both “graduates” of the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore.

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