CLINTON, Md. — After announcing last week that former State Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.[D-Calvert] would be resigning his Senate seat due to deteriorating health, some have found fault in some of the many legislative decisions he made throughout his 45-year tenure.
Miller, who served as his chamber’s president for 33 years, stepped out of that role in 2019, giving the gavel to Sen. Bill Ferguson[D-Baltimore City].
Now activists, young political hopefuls, and a number of Maryland residents have taken issue with two buildings in the state which hold a namesake for the former President Emeritus. Those buildings include the state Senate building in Annapolis, as well as the Administration Building at the state’s flagship university.
Read the full letter below (multiple pages):
“In more ways than one, [Miller] has consistently been the opposite of the mission and values of the state of Maryland, and [The University of Maryland],” Greenbelt Mayor and one of the authors to the letter, Colin Byrd said. “If we ignore that, if state leaders ignore that, they would be making an extraordinary mistake that could lead to people getting the wrong message about where the state of Maryland stands on very important matters, and what the state of Maryland values and celebrates.”
Some policy problems that the signatories found with Miller included voting against providing more funding to HBCU’s, supporting the first Law Enforcement Bill of Rights in the nation, lack of support for worker’s unions, voting against a same-sex marriage bill less than 10 years ago, and for “leading efforts to deliberately engage in racist [and] undemocratic redistricting]” back in 2002.
Byrd, 28-years-old and a declared Democratic primary challenger to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer[MD-05] in 2022, said he would like to see the Board of Public Works as well as the chancellor for the University System of Maryland addressing their issue with urgency.
“This guy was exceptional in some of the worst ways,” Byrd said. “Having two of the most prominent state buildings in all of Maryland named after you is an extraordinarily tremendous honor that has to meet a very, very extraordinary threshold of consistent good character. Not perfection, but a consistently good character that aligns with the missions and values of the institution that those buildings represent.”
A hopeful for one of Prince George’s County’s seats in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2022 who also signed onto the letter, Richard DeShay Elliott, said that people shouldn’t have governmental buildings named after them while they are alive. In addition, he sees a problem with Miller’s extended time in power while serving constituents across three different counties.
“I think [his] biggest impact is not necessarily in his personal policies that he stood for or against, but in his political impact in Prince George’s County,” Elliott said. “Anybody who’s been here for a long enough time will know about the sample ballots, which have been used since 1974. Miller’s use of those has allowed him to groom his own leadership group of Prince George’s politicians, who very frequently do not govern to the needs of the community.”
However, Elliott could still appreciate what Miller was able to do throughout his life as a legislator.
“In spite of my views of Miller being that he’s a negative influence on the state and holds negative views of black people, of poor people, I do fully believe that Mike Miller is a legislative genius,” Elliott said.
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