PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Calvert County’s Women of the World (WOW) annual awards event honored long-time State Senator Mike Miller at its virtual ceremony on April 17.  The following tribute was given by Margaret Dunkle, former Chair of the Calvert County Commission for Women and also a member of the 2021 WOW Planning Committee.

Tribute by Margaret Dunkle

We pay special tribute today to a good friend of Calvert County and a good friend to Calvert County women and girls – former State Senator Mike Miller.

Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., of Chesapeake Beach, passed away at age 78 earlier this year.  He leaves a rich legacy of legislative accomplishments, friends, family, and colleagues in Calvert County and throughout Southern Maryland – and also across the state and the nation. 

Mike Miller was the longest serving state Senate President in the United States, not just in Maryland.  33 years!  His seat is now held by another Mike – Senator Michael Jackson.

Senator Miller represented Calvert County in the Maryland Senate for almost 50 years. So, if you thought he had been our state Senator forever, well, you’re pretty much right! 

Everyone has a Mike Miller story:
• An avid historian who was a regular at the History Fair.

• A booster of teachers and education, who believed in putting his money where his mouth was.

• Someone who loved the Bay and the Patuxent, championed legislation to clean up the Bay, and waded in annually with Bernie Fowler.

• A leader with enormous energy, political smarts, and a voice of authority who somehow also found time to hear your story.

Over the 18 years of the WOW event, Senator Miller was here in person many, many times to celebrate our honorees.

As a student of history, he would appreciate how opportunities for women and girls have increased from when he began his career. When he earned his law degree in 1967, it was perfectly legal for law schools to refuse to admit fully qualified women – and most did just that.  Now, of course, that is illegal under Title IX.

Senator Miller championed the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Commemoration Task Force and implementing its three recommendations – including the Harriet Elizabeth Brown Community Center & Park in Prince Frederick.  Ms. Brown was a local hero who successfully challenged unequal pay for African-American teachers in 1937, with a young NAACP attorney, Thurgood Marshall, at her side.

The group photo shows the 2015 bill signing to create this Task Force, which I had the honor of chairing, with a smiling Senator Miller alongside the Governor, House Speaker, and entire Calvert County Delegation in Annapolis.

We deeply appreciate Senator Miller’s many contributions.  He was a giant.  He leaves an incredible legacy.  And we will miss him.