Image via House Speaker Michael Busch’s Facebook page.
Image via House Speaker Michael Busch’s Facebook page.

Michael E. Busch, who presided over the Maryland House of Delegates longer than any other speaker in the state’s history, died Sunday. He was 72.

An obituary in The Sun remembered Busch, who took over as House Speaker in 2003, as a “a champion of the state’s schools and the Chesapeake Bay.”

Busch reportedly died at the University of Maryland Medical Center, where he was being treated for pneumonia. Shortly after, tributes from all over the Maryland political world began pouring in.

In a statement, Gov. Larry Hogan said that while he and Busch came from different political parties, they were often able to work together on legislation.

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.

— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) April 7, 2019

The governor ordered state flags to fly at half-staff until sunset of the day Busch is interred.

Some additional reactions:

Speaker Busch was a champion of the Chesapeake bay, working people, and an incredibly decent human being. My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time.

— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) April 7, 2019

I join my colleagues in government in mourning the passing of the longest-serving state House speaker in Maryland history, @SpeakerBusch.

— Mayor Catherine Pugh (@MayorPugh50) April 8, 2019


— Mayor Bernard C. Jack Young (@mayorbcyoung) April 7, 2019

Joining Marylanders across our state in remembering Speaker Mike Busch, who passed away earlier this afternoon. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Cindy, his two daughters, and everyone who loved him.

— Comptroller Peter Franchot (@peterfranchot) April 7, 2019

Heaven has welcomed a true servant of the people home today. May God bless the Busch family and the millions of Marylanders in the days ahead who will celebrate the lasting, positive impact that Speaker Michael Busch has had on all of our lives.

— Bill Ferguson (@SenBillFerg) April 7, 2019

My thoughts and prayers are with the family of our “coach”, Speaker Michael Busch. He was a genuine leader and friend to many and his guidance and love for those in the chamber and around the state will be missed. Thank you for patience with us freshmen. We will miss you.

— Tony Bridges (@TonyBridges41) April 8, 2019

Maryland lost a truly exceptional public servant leader today. I feel honored to have known him and to have served under him. Thinking of his family tonight & the incredible legacy he has left for Maryland’s children. #RIP @SpeakerBusch

— Brooke Lierman (@BrookeELierman) April 7, 2019

On behalf of Baltimore County, I offer my deepest condolences to the Busch family. They remain in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

@SpeakerBusch was a friend, mentor, & leader. His legacy as a dedicated public servant to all of MD will live on for generations

— Johnny Olszewski, Jr. (@JohnnyOJr) April 7, 2019

My heart is heavy today in learning of the passing of Speaker Busch.

I was honored to serve alongside Speaker Busch in the House of Delegates, and I came to know him as one of our state’s most thoughtful and dedicated legislators who tirelessly worked for his constituents.

— Elijah E. Cummings (@RepCummings) April 7, 2019

Rest in Peace @SpeakerBusch. You served with dignity and respect for all even those who you did not agree with. I will never forget you telling me “keep up the good work young man and take care of Herring Run Park.” Maryland will be forever grateful for your service. Thank you.

— Brandon M. Scott (@MayorBMScott) April 7, 2019

The first time I met Speaker Busch in 2017 he told me he was from my district, grew up in Hamilton, first played organized sports in Herring Run Park. He knew my district like the back of his hand and was still fighting for it. He was an impassioned public servant. Rest In Peace.

— Ryan Dorsey (@ElectRyanDorsey) April 7, 2019

I love Mike Busch. I just love him.

But I cannot even begin to share why in a tweet. Please read my statement on the passing of our great Speaker, Iron Mike Bush, here: #MDGA19 @mdhousedems @SpeakerBusch @mddems

— Del. Maggie McIntosh (@DelMaggie43) April 7, 2019

Speaker (aka “coach”) Mike Busch’s passing is a terrible loss for Maryland. Under his leadership, we have become a more inclusive and just community with greater opportunity for all. I was proud to call him a friend. Katherine and I send our deepest condolences to his family.

— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) April 7, 2019

Grateful to the leader @SpeakerBusch was to me. Among many things, he alone (single-handed) assisted us in securing a brand new $1.2 million baseball field in heart of West Baltimore. We salute you Speaker Busch!!! ?????? #BaltimoreWillMissYou

— Senator Antonio Hayes (@AntonioHayes40) April 7, 2019

I’m so grateful I had a chance to know and work with Speaker Mike Busch. Champion for Maryland with a heart for Baltimore, my beloved city. Always kind to me. Thank you, sir. Bless you. ♥️

— Del. Robbyn Lewis (@RobbynLewis46th) April 7, 2019

In only my first session, I’ve quickly came to appreciate Speaker Busch’s candor, appreciation of Baltimore and deep love for Maryland. I am saddened to hear of his transition and exend the deepest sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues, constituents and staff.

— Stephanie M. Smith (@Smith4Delegate) April 7, 2019

In light of Speaker Busch’s passing today, I extend my prayers and warmest condolences to his family, friends, staff, and all those who knew, loved, and respected him. May his legacy of dedication and service to Marylanders live on. May he rest in peace.

— Nick J. Mosby (@Nick_Mosby) April 7, 2019

In one of his final political acts, Busch on Friday called for an override of Hogan’s veto on legislation that establish five oyster sanctuaries. The House of Delegates succeeded, voting 96-43 on Friday.

And the Senate followed suit today, overriding the governor in a 29-16 vote.

The legislative sessions wraps up tonight at midnight.

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Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore...