By Natalie Jones, Charlie Youngmann and David Jahng
Maryland Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, announced Thursday to the chamber he has led for more than three decades that he had been diagnosed with and was being treated for prostate cancer.
Rather than discussing his illness, Miller had printed statements distributed around the chamber that detailed his diagnosis.
“The story’s gotta be about the Senate. It’s not about me, it’s about the Senate,” Miller said after the statements had been distributed, quickly moving on with the day’s proceedings.
Miller was diagnosed with prostate cancer in July 2018, along with other osteopathic issues, he said in the statement.
He was prescribed pharmaceuticals and continued physical therapy until late December, when he awoke with a sharp pain in his leg.
An oncologist at The Johns Hopkins Hospital informed Miller and his family that the cancer couldn’t be managed through medicine alone.
Miller said he will be undergoing chemotherapy during this legislative session, his 33rd year serving as Senate president.
“…in spite of my treatments, I will be fully able to join my colleagues and preside this session,” Miller said in the statement.
Senate Minority Whip Stephen Hershey, R-Kent, Queen Anne’s, Cecil and Caroline, said the news of Miller’s diagnosis was “devastating,” noting that the Senate president had long been a staple of legislative compromise.
Hershey told Capital News Service that he hopes to see Miller in better health this session.
“It was absolutely a gut punch for all of us,” said Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings, R-Baltimore, Harford counties.
However, he said Miller’s prognosis was good and that the Senate would come together to offer their support.
“The governor had a health scare, he was able to get his job done. Speaker of the House had his health scares, he’s gotten his job done. We’ll get the job done,” said Jennings.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2015, and skin cancer in 2018. Speaker of the House Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, had a liver transplant in 2017, and heart bypass surgery in 2018.
Hogan, in a statement, said, “I… know firsthand that Mike Miller has earned his place in Maryland political history because he’s a fighter who always gives it everything he’s got, no matter how tough things get. Mike’s tenacity, bravery, and perseverance will ensure that he wins this battle, and he has my full support.”
Senate President Pro Tem Katherine Klausmeier, D-Baltimore County, who would lead in the event of Miller’s absence, said that it was a sad day after hearing his diagnosis.
“I hope the whole world keeps praying. … He’s the glue that holds the Senate together,” said Klausmeier.
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