Maryland Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller is resigning from the Maryland General Assembly, effective immediately.
The 78-year-old, who has been battling cancer, announced the decision with “tremendous sadness” in a letter to current Senate President Bill Ferguson.
“I thought I could continue on,” he said during a Zoom news conference on Wednesday. “My mind is fine, but the cancer is in all my bones. My body is wracked with pain.”
Miller ends his career with over 45 years of service in the Maryland state Senate. He represented Prince George’s County and southern Maryland, and served as Senate president for 33 years before stepping down from the post last year.
“During my tenure in the Senate of Maryland and my time serving as President, it was the greatest honor of my life in part because I have seen the Senate rise above partisan and other differences time and time again,” Miller wrote in his resignation letter.
Though members of the Senate did not always agree, Miller said, they disagreed with “dignity and congeniality.”
Miller grew up in southern Prince George’s County and was the oldest of 10 kids. He said his parents instilled a strong work ethic and love of education.
“I have always believed in the power of education to change people’s lives and to grow our state’s economy,” wrote Miller, who later reiterated his hope that sweeping education reform gets passed in the state.
Miller said he changed with the times by looking backward.
“I never stopped studying history,” he told reporters. ” … Because I know what other leaders have done in similar situations, I’m able to find alternatives to move forward.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., who served alongside Miller in Maryland’s Senate for eight years, said in a statement that Miller “set the gold standard for true leadership in the state Senate.”
“He is a dear friend, and his mentorship and wisdom remain invaluable to me,” Van Hollen said. “As he continues his battle with cancer, he knows that Katherine and I are in his corner every step of the way.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan praised Miller as well, calling him “a lion of the Senate.”
“I have known Mike since I was a kid,” Hogan said, “and it has been one of my greatest privileges as governor to serve alongside him.”
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich also had praise for Miller, saying he “built successful coalitions when the time came for change.”
“The great state of Maryland would not be what it is today without his unrelenting commitment to making it a better place, nor would Montgomery County,” Elrich said.
When speaking with reporters Wednesday, the history buff was asked how he thinks he will be remembered.
“That he was a hard worker. He was ethical. That he brought his attributes … hard work, love of the [Chesapeake] Bay … [and] love of education to the Senate,” Miller said.
“And, as a result, a lot of positive legislation flowed into the floor, across the floor, of the House.”
WTOP’s Jack Pointer contributed to this report.