Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) decried the crime in Baltimore on Friday, reading headlines from The Baltimore Sun about a night of terrible, but not unprecedented, violence. Fourteen people had been shot in the past day, five of them at a single West Baltimore scene, and five people died.
“It’s horrible. We should be screaming,” Miller said, at the beginning of a four-minute tangent on the issue.
The Senate president said the chamber had five weeks to do something about the issue.
“If you’re from the Eastern Shore and this is happening in Baltimore City, it affects you. It affects all of us,” Miller said. “…I don’t represent Prince George’s County, I represent the whole state of Maryland. You do too. And when you see something that needs to be addressed, you need to speak out, whether it’s on the Eastern Shore or Western Maryland or Baltimore City. You’re a state senator. You represent the entire state. Everybody does. You understand that? You’re a powerful person. And when this body sticks together, when 47 members stick together, nothing can stop us.”
Miller also addressed budget cuts recommended by nonpartisan budget analysts to Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s proposed crime-fighting initiative in the city. “We’re not going to cut a dime,” Miller said. “…At the same time we fund them, we’re going to recommend that they’re run correctly.”
The Senate president also made an oblique reference to the proposed police force at Johns Hopkins University, where he is going for cancer treatment. Miller said Saudi Arabian investors are reading stories about violence in Baltimore and worrying about their investments.
“It’s embarrassing to see headlines like this,” Miller said. “And it shouldn’t happen.”
Miller said the state cannot settle for being home to one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
“It’s embarrassing. It needs to stop,” Miller said. “And we have the power to stop it. Let’s make it stop.”
His fiery plea was greeted by somber faces in the chamber and by applause once he concluded his remarks.
Sen. Robert Cassilly (R-Harford) said he appreciated the Senate president’s comments and recently found himself in awe as he read through a report about technology the Baltimore Police Department needs. He was surprised by how basic the list was.
“You don’t have THAT?” he said.
Cassilly said the Senate should focus on helping the police department acquire basic needs as soon as possible.
“It’s a great city. I love it,” Cassilly said. “And I will do anything I can to get these basics up and operational.”