The Heavy Hand and Subtle Middle Finger of Mike Miller

    Since the start of the General Assembly session last week, a lot of attention has understandably been focused on Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and his admission that he’s being treated for advance-stage prostate cancer.

    That’s of course a stunning and significant development.

    But let’s not forget about Miller’s legislative prowess and his ability to deliver a message, however subtly.

    As the new Senate term convened last week, it was hard not to look at some of the senators Miller had installed into key positions and conclude that Miller was exacting some revenge against political enemies on the left and the right.

    The longest serving Senate president in history and certain of his allies were targeted in last year’s Democratic primaries by some progressive groups and labor unions. And then in the general election, Republicans worked hard to try to flip five state Senate seats – though they fell well short of their goal.

    So look at certain members of Miller’s leadership team, most of them new: President Pro Tem Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) – heavily targeted by Republicans. Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) – targeted by the left in the primary. Finance Chair Delores B. Kelley (D-Baltimore County) – targeted by the left in the primary. Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Vice Chair Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-Baltimore County) – targeted by the left in the primary. Executive Nominations Chairman Ronald Young (D-Frederick), the man who will preside over all the nomination hearings for Hogan administration appointees – targeted by Republicans.

    Message delivered.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.