School Construction Press Conference Highlights a General Assembly in Transition

[photo, Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., Maryland Senate President]
Maryland Senate President Thomas “Mike” Miller, Jr. (Source: Maryland Manual Online)
Maryland Matters article (2019-11-07) highlighted the challenges faced by Maryland General Assembly in transition, particularly as Senate President Thomas “Mike” Miller prepares to pass the mantle of leadership on to Baltimore City Senator Bill Ferguson. The article reported that during a press conference in Prince George’s County over school construction (which will be a top priority of both chambers with funding legislation being introduced as House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1) it fell to Miller to answer one of the most challenging questions – how is the state going to pay for the initiative.

Ferguson is expected to be named Senate President at the start of the 2020 Session, replacing Miller who is stepping down due to health issues. Miller, who is the longest serving state Senate President in history, having served in that role since 1987.

The article noted that during the question and answer session of the press conference, Ferguson had joined Miller and House leaders at the podium when the funding question was asked. According to the article it was Miller, “the lion in winter,” who answered. Miller indicated that while funding is “always a challenge” the General Assembly would “find a way to make it happen.”

From the article:

“Look, it’s awkward,” said Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s). “It’s a transitional time. It happens in lots of institutions. Who speaks for the Senate? Is it the new leadership, which isn’t official until Jan. 8?” Or is it Miller?

“He’s still the president of the Senate,” said former Sen. Thomas M. “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles). “He’s still the most powerful person in the legislature stepping forward and saying here’s how we’re going to pay for it.” …

“He should have answered that question.”