The Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable Hosts Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller
Story and Photography By Raoul Dennis
In spite of any personal illnesses he may be facing, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller showed no signs of slowing down when he stepped into the room at the May 8 meeting of the Greater Prince George’s Business Roundtable (click here for photos).
Miller shared a review of the year and pressed forward in discussing the leading topics for next year’s legislative session but not before recapping some of the coolest points of his relationship with the current governor.
“I was stuck in the car watching the five-year-old,” he said of his time as driver for Frank Small, Jr., the Republican candidate for governor in 1962. Miller was a young hopeful in Maryland politics. “My job was to drive the governor candidate and Larry Hogan, Sr. and occasionally he would bring his son, Larry Hogan, Jr. and put him in the back seat. We would go to big events and the candidate and Hogan would get out and leave me with the five year old. I was babysitting. I was 18 and in College Park and he was five years old but we have been together ever since.”
Affectionately shared in order to give depth to his long relationship with Hogan and Maryland life and politics, Miller sought to place a little light on his life’s work before getting down to business. (See Prince George’s Suite Magazine interview with Senate President Miller. See below or click here).
But then the veteran statesman focused on gains for Maryland.
“Unlike, Capitol Hill, we get along in Annapolis,” Miller said. “Despite the fact that we had 17 new members in the Senate--14 Democrats and three Republicans -- we came together and worked together with Governor Hogan. All 47 senators voted for the budget. I mean there’s gotta be something there that you don’t like [when you have so many concerns] but all 47 senators voted for the budget. We worked together.”
He spoke of the support for the Kerwin bill, allocating over $1 billion for education over three years.
The senator fought to maintain the board of the new regional medical hospital to assure continuity there. He worked with the Alsobrooks Administration and maintained the push for the Public-Private Partnership (P3) effort and capital project funding for 14 new school buildings in the Prince George’s County. “We worked with President Breaux and Bowie State University work with her on new libraries. We passed some huge projects for College Park: You stand on the top floor of the new hotel on Route 21 and it looks like Dubai. I was at the dedication for the new computer center on Route 1 and it has a rain forest on top of it. It’s a $131 million computer center.”
He discussed the minimum wage increase but noted that the increases would be phased in over time with certain exemptions for small businesses. Miller also noted that Styrofoam in now banned in the state while the school year starting date is still under discussion.
Miller added: “We have $1 billion in the rainy day fund. We have over $100 million surplus in the operating budget. Your state government is being well managed.”
After recapping the gains of the 2019 legislative session, the charismatic, silver-haired Maryland leader outlined topics slated for 2020. They include the legalization of marijuana, sports betting and bills on handgun legislation. “There has to be a balance in terms of guns,” he says.
“All in all, it has been a great year,” Miller says. “Every municipality got taken care of, the schools got taken care of. Our community colleges got a good boost, we kept tuition at our colleges at 2% increases, there were no tax increases, no fee increases, Prince George’s kept its AAA Bond Rating and we listened to businesses.”
With that and a smile, Miller thanked the Roundtable and sought his seat. But he couldn’t take his seat before another revered Maryland leader, Ken Michael, of NAI Michael Companies, insisted on a standing ovation for the senior statesman.
“Mike Miller is a friend and someone I’ve admired my entire adult life,” Estepp would later say of the esteemed public servant. “He is one of the most courageous, tenacious and skilled elected officials I’ve ever known. Maryland is fortunate to have him as our Senate President.”