In this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller speaks with members of the news media after listening to Gov. Larry Hogan deliver his annual State of the State address to a joint session of the legislature in Annapolis, Md. Former Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has died at age 78. His family said in a statement Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 that he died at home surrounded by loved ones. Miller was a major force in Maryland politics and the state’s longest-serving Senate president. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter
Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, perhaps the most powerful Maryland political figure over the last 50 years died Friday afternoon (Jan. 15), according to his family. He was 78.
Miller began his career in politics in 1971, when he was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates at age 29, representing the Third Legislative District of Maryland in Prince George’s County. Then he was elected to represent that same district in the Maryland Senate in 1975.
He ascended to President of the Senate in 1987, presiding in that position until January 2020. He retired from the Senate chair because of health issues; he announced in January 2019, that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He was the longest-serving Senate President in the state’s history and one of the longest serving leaders of a state legislature in the nation’s history.
“I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of my friend, colleague and trusted advisor, Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr.,” said Speaker of the House of Delegates Adrienne Jones. “Mike was a giant and a legend, who served the people of Maryland for a half century. Anyone, anywhere with a sense of history or politics will know the name Mike Miller. I was fortunate to have received his counsel and advice when I became Speaker. He was kind and generous as he was powerful: a combination that leads to a cone-in-a-generation leader and statesman who we can all emulate.”
A measure of Miller’s power and prestige in the state’s political arena is indicative of the fact his name anoints not only the Senate office building in Annapolis, as well as the Main Administration Building at the University of Maryland, College Park, his alma mater. “These past months have been filled with difficult losses, but the passing of longtime Senate President Mike Miller is one of the most heartbreaking,” said the Maryland Democratic Party in a statement. “Miller was a titan of Maryland. In his five decades of service to our state — including thirty-three as Senate President — he fought for everyday Marylanders, improving the lives of so many through progressive, yet always pragmatic, policies. Our hearts go out to his family, we offer our deepest condolences. The people of Maryland are forever indebted for his service.”
Miller is survived by his wife Patricia and five children.