A lion. Larger than life. One-of-a-kind leader.
Those are just a few of the descriptions prominent Maryland figures offered over the past 24 hours, overcome by the news that former Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller had died Friday. He was 78 and died of cancer.
When he stepped down from his post presiding over the Senate, Miller was the longest-serving state Senate leader in Maryland and U.S. history.
His colleagues, protegees and political opponents took to social media in the hours after his death to remember a man they recalled as a leader, mentor and historian, who had cemented his legacy as a staple of the General Assembly.
Here’s what they said:
Former President Bill Clinton:
“As the longest-serving state senate leader in Maryland and US history, my friend Mike Miller had an amazing ability to get things done. He was also fiercely loyal. If he had your back, you never had to look over your shoulder. My thoughts are with Patti and the entire family.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.:
“Maryland has lost a giant, and I have lost a dear friend. Governors have come and gone, but Mike Miller was a historic figure and force of nature, always pushing our state forward. His legacy of results for Marylanders is unmatched. Katherine and I send our love to [Patti] and his family.”
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan:
“Maryland has lost on of its most revered leaders, and I have lost a dear lifelong friend.
“Serving the people of our great state was Mike Miller’s life’s work, and he did so with unrelenting passion and courage for a remarkable 50 years. Even as he waged a hard-fought battle with cancer, I was blessed to continue to benefit from Mike’s wisdom and trademark humor. He was, in every sense, a lion of the Senate.
“The First Lady and I extend our most heartfelt condolences to President Miller’s wife, Patti, their five children and 15 grandchildren, his Senate colleagues, and all who loved him.
“Effective immediately, Maryland flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Senate President Emeritus Miller’s distinguished life and legacy until sunset on the day of internment.”
U.S. Rep Anthony Brown, D-Md.:
“Mike Miller understood that politics is the business of improving lives. He was relentless in his pursuit of a better Maryland. His determination, candor and insight will be missed. My condolences to his family and all those mourning the loss of Mike — a truly Maryland institution.”
U.S. Rep Kweisi Mfume, D-Md.:
“Maryland mourns the passing of one of its most revered figures in politics and public service: Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. Rest well, Mike. Our heavy hearts and prayers are with your family.”
Maryland Women’s Basketball Coach Brenda Frese:
“Can’t say enough about what Mike Miller meant to Maryland & all of us. He will truly be missed.”
Maryland Basketball Coach Mark Turgeon:
“Senator Mike Miller selflessly served the great state of Maryland for nearly half a century. He was an ardent supporter of the University of Maryland and our basketball program and will be deeply missed. I send my condolences to the Miller family & the entire Maryland community.”
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.:
“Condolences & love to the beautiful family of Mike Miller, who we lost today after his long fight with cancer. As I worked with him in the Senate for 10 years, Mike taught me about Maryland history, parliamentary procedure & how to grow as a leader. He made me laugh every day.”
Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore:
“It is impossible to think of the Maryland Senate and not think of Mike — not just because of his historical longevity — but because each member of the Senate has his or her own Mike story. Whether it’s the Senator who he quietly consoled through family matters, the Senator who he mentored to compromise and pass legislation, or those who experience the personal care of Mike to truly listen to their concerns. There are thousands of former Senators, Delegates, staffers, and constituents in the 27th District that he has impacted for the better, and who each have their own Mike Miller story.”
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, D-Baltimore County:
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my friend, colleague and trusted advisor Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Mike Miller was a giant and a legend who served the people of Maryland for nearly a half century.
“Anyone, anywhere with a sense of politics or history will know the name Mike Miller. I was fortunate to have received his counsel and advice when I became Speaker. He was as kind and generous as he was powerful — a combination that leads to a once-in-a-generation leader and and statesman we can all emulate. My thoughts and prayers are with Patti and his entire family. He will be sorely missed.”
Maryland Sen. Steve Hershey, R-Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, former Senate minority whip:
“I am saddened by the passing of Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.
“As a leader, mentor and historian, he devoted his life to making the Maryland Senate and each one of its members better.
“I will miss his wisdom, his leadership, but most of all his friendship.”
Maryland Sen. Mary Washington, D-Baltimore:
“I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr, the very week we began the 442nd Maryland General Assembly. His impact on laws, policies, and the very campus of the Maryland State House will be felt for many years to come. As a Maryland Senator, a member of the body for which he held such great regard, I wish his family & loved ones peace and comfort in his memory, and after a year already filled with so much hardship.”
Maryland Del. Luke Clippinger, D-Baltimore, House Judiciary Committee chair:
“Sending my sincerest condolences to the Miller family. Mike Miller was a one-of-a-kind leader, and the State of Maryland owes him and his family a great debt.”
Maryland Del. Jazz Lewis, D-Prince George’s County:
“My deepest condolences to the family of Thomas V. Mike Miller. My prayers and thoughts are with you! Mike was a titan of the state and will be remembered for his life and legacy in the State Senate.”
Sen. Paul Pinsky, D-Prince George’s:
“Mike Miller was a giant and his loss will be felt across all of Maryland. And while we disagreed on many an issue, he gave his life to the MD Senate & the people of the state. Mike was a teacher & one of the most knowledgeable individuals of MD history. Fairwell my friend.”
Maryland Senate Minority Whip Mike Hough, R-Carroll and Frederick counties:
“Mike Miller was a true giant in the history of the State of MD and a master of the State Senate. Today, I grieve with my colleagues over his passing and will work this Session in remembrance of him for the history and tradition that he passed on to us who are Senators.
“Even though we were on opposing sides of the aisle, he served as a mentor to me on what it meant to be a Maryland State Senator. From ensuring proper dress protocol on the floor to instructing Senator’s how to debate on the floor to forging collaboration and compromise.
“Miller throughout his career strived to remind us all that Maryland is a state of middle temperament. I pray for him and his family at this time.”
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Democrat:
“Mike Miller was a giant. We will not soon again see his like. RIP, friend.”
Maryland Sen. Cory McCray, D-Baltimore:
“I am very saddened to learn of the passing of Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller. Maryland is better because of his leadership. Senator Miller gave all he had to all he could. I will miss his institutional knowledge. My condolences are with his family at this time.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, Democrat:
“I join Baltimoreans in mourning the passing of Senate President Emeritus Mike Miller. He was a giant of Maryland Democratic politics, who will be missed by all who he mentored. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, Democrat:
“Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to Patti, the entire Miller family on the passing of Senate President Mike Miller. His legacy is that of a masterful legislator, a committed public servant, and a man whose life’s work is interwoven in our state’s history.
“May future generations be inspired by Senate President Miller’s unwavering commitment to public service and may we honor his legacy by continuing to better the state that he loved so dearly. Rest in Peace, Mr. President.”
Former Maryland Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.:
“I am saddened to learn of Sen Mike Miller’s passing.
“He loved his family — the MD Senate — UMD sports — and the practice of law. His larger than life personality ruled over the Senate for decades as he made an indelible mark on our politics. He was one of a kind. RIP my friend.”
U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.:
“So sad to hear we’ve lost my friend, the longest-serving State Senate leader in US history and one of the most effective elected officers in Maryland’s, Mike Miller. Mike was smart, hilarious and willing to set aside his personal beliefs for the best interest of the state.
“He was a [University of Maryland] fanatic and I enjoyed seeing him at [Terrapins] basketball games. But more than the Terps, more than the Maryland Senate and more than his great state, he loved his family. My heart goes out to his wife, children, many grandchildren and all of his loved ones.”
Dr. Darryll Pines, president of University of Maryland:
“Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller has been a giant among those who have built our flagship and propelled Maryland to a top public research institution.”
Maryland Sen. Justin Ready, R-Carroll County:
“Very sad and sorry to hear of the passing of Thomas V. Mike Miller, the longest serving Senate president in American history and a man who dedicated his life to our state. While of course there were many times where we were on differing sides of a debate, Pres. Miller always brought a reverence and historical perspective to Senate proceedings. In addition, he would do things like having guests we would bring to the chamber come sit next to him on the rostrum during debates and give them nuggets of information and context. Rest in peace to a Maryland and American original. May God bless his family and all that loved him.”
Maryland Sen. Craig Zucker, D-Montgomery County:
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“With the passing of Senator Mike Miller, even more, now than ever, he becomes legend. Like his predecessors, his spirit is now woven into the halls of the State House where his memory lives on. My thoughts are with the entire Miller Family during this difficult time.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.:
“State Senator and former State Senate President Mike Miller dedicated his career to his Southern Maryland constituents and the people of Maryland. I’m saddened to hear of his passing today. My and Nicole’s condolences to his family.”
Maryland Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera:
“Tonight, all over Maryland, hearts are grieving the death of Mike Miller after his battle with cancer. To many, he was a friend, a mentor, and a tireless champion of the people of Maryland.
“He dedicated half a century of service to the people of Maryland and was unrelenting in his commitment to building better communities throughout Maryland. To say he will be missed is an understatement.
“On behalf of the Judiciary of Maryland, I extend our heartfelt condolences to President Miller’s wife and family, his Senate colleagues, and the people of Maryland.”