Annapolis, MD – Michael Busch, the speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates for the past 16 years, died Sunday afternoon, his family reported. Busch had endured major health challenges, having a liver transplant in 2017 and undergoing coronary bypass surgery last year. Recently, he was hospitalized due to complications from pneumonia. His death comes one day before the final day of the 2019 Maryland Assembly session.

Statement from Governor Larry Hogan
“This is a profoundly sad day for Maryland. Mike Busch was a giant in our government—the longest serving Speaker in our state’s history. He cared deeply about improving the lives of Marylanders, and his legacy is evident in his many legislative achievements.

“Speaker Busch and I came from different sides of the aisle, but we often came together in the best interests of the people of Maryland. He served with the decency and good nature of a teacher, a coach, and a family man. I was honored to know him and to work closely with him.

“On behalf of all Marylanders, the First Lady and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Speaker’s wife, Cindy, their daughters, Erin and Megan, and all of his colleagues. He was raised in Annapolis, he represented Annapolis, and he will forever be remembered here.”

Effective immediately, Maryland flags will fly at half-staff in honor of Speaker Busch’s distinguished life and legacy until sunset on the day of interment.

Maryland House Minority Leader Nic Kipke released the following statement regarding the passing of Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch:
“It is sad and surreal that Speaker Busch is gone.  He was a good man and a dear friend. The coach-like style that he brought to his Speakership lifted all of us up and made us better people and better legislators.  He liked to win but what he wanted most was to see everyone ‘play the game’ fairly, with honor and dignity.

My entire family and I wish his loved ones heartfelt condolences and we thank you for sharing him with us for all of these years. He will be sorely missed.”

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen [D-MD] released the following statement regarding the passing of Maryland Speaker of the House, Michael Busch:
“Maryland has lost one of her greatest champions today. And I have lost a dear friend and former colleague. Mike Busch was a titan of unstinting character who served the state he grew up in and did his job for Marylanders with passion, integrity, determination, and exuberance.

“As the longest serving Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, Mike’s good works can be seen and felt all around us. Under his leadership, we have become a more inclusive and just community with greater opportunity for all. When I served in the Maryland House of Delegates with Mike, many of us would fondly call him “coach.” Not just because his office was packed with photos of him coaching various youth sports teams and his history as a football star, but because he always had a way of bringing out the best in everyone who had the privilege of learning from him. We were all part of Team Maryland.

“As a lifelong Marylander, Mike dedicated himself to our state for over 32 years. Even when his health was declining, he was known to walk the halls of the State House whistling and singing. That’s just the type of person he was: full of life even during the most difficult times.

“Mike always stood with Maryland. And today, we stand with his family and all of those mourning during this heart-wrenching time. Our prayers and gratitude go out to his wife Cindy, and his daughters during this difficult hour.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin [D-MD], issued the following statement on the passing of Maryland Speaker of the House of Delegates Mike Busch.

“Marylanders are grieving the loss of one of their own today. Mike Busch was a force in Annapolis and he left a progressive imprint on the state that without hyperbole will last for generations. For me, and for Myrna, the loss is intensely personal. We have lost a dear friend and our hearts are broken while we mourn with his wife, his family, and his dedicated staff at the State Capitol.

“While we never served together in the House of Delegates, as a former Speaker, I watched Mike Busch’s ascent in Annapolis and saw throughout his career a public servant who put the people he served, his community and his family at the forefront of all he did.

“May his memory be a blessing to his family and all of those whom his life touched.”

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer [MD-District 5] released the following statement today on the passing of Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch:

“The state of Maryland lost a true champion today. Speaker Michael Busch served his state with distinction and honor and fought tirelessly for families throughout our state. In an era of mean-spirited politics and irresponsible rhetoric, Speaker Busch was an example of civility, compassion, and fairness. I will personally miss him as a dear friend and a public servant of great integrity and honest policies.

“Mike’s passion for leadership was born out of his career of teaching and coaching in Annapolis. To this day, he was affectionately referred to as ‘Coach’ by his colleagues in the State House and was widely respected for his ability to reach across the aisle to get things done.

“During his time in public service, he led the charge to expand access to health care for thousands of Marylanders, to protect the oyster population and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, and to ensure more families had access to opportunity. Mike also fought to ensure marriage equality in Maryland, and he worked to improve education and fund school construction throughout our state.

“But more than his legislative accomplishments, Mike was a dear friend – to me and to so many colleagues he served with and mentored in the Maryland General Assembly. We will miss his counsel and his friendship deeply.

“Today is a sad day for the city of Annapolis, which he was so proud to serve, and our entire State. My thoughts and prayers are with Cindy, Erin, and Megan and the entire Busch family as well his colleagues, constituents, and staff. As we reflect on his life and legacy, may we continue to be guided by his spirit of bipartisanship and service.”

Statement from Mike Tidwell, Director of Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund:

“After a lengthy illness, Maryland Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch passed away today. Busch was the strongest friend the environment ever had in his role as Speaker. He led the fight for the state’s first mandatory standard for clean power in 2004, launching the modern wind and solar power industries in the state. Throughout his tenure he fought for cleaner air, cleaner cars, and a pollution-free future in the face of climate change. We will always remember his legacy, and we will miss him dearly.”