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Former Maryland Senate President Emeritus Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., who enabled the passage of a marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights bills in the state, died on Friday at age 78.
“Maryland has lost one of its most revered
leaders,” Republican Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted. “And I have lost a dear lifelong
Miller was first elected as a Democratic
senator representing Calvert County in 1974 and rose to Senate president where
he served for over 30 years.
“At his core, Mike was who you saw,” said state
Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), the current Senate president, in a press
release. “He was a hard worker, he was ethical … As a result of his tenacity
and spirit, he was able to shepherd vitally important legislation to the Senate
floor, through the House, and to the governor for signature.”
Though he was a social conservative, Miller allowed the 2012 same-sex marriage bill to come up for a Senate vote where it eventually passed and was signed by then-Gov. Martin O’Malley. He also thanked then-Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) for introducing a bill banning discrimination against transgender Marylanders, which O’Malley signed into law in 2014.
Miller ended his long tenure as Senate president in 2019 due to a stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis, and was replaced by Ferguson. Miller would stay on in his position as senator and Senate president emeritus.
“For over 50 years, Mike served the people of Maryland in the General Assembly,” Ferguson said. “First as a staffer to the Prince George’s County delegation; then as a member of the House of Delegates, a member of the Senate, chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee; and for 32 years, as president of the Maryland Senate. He concluded this extraordinary period of service as Senate president emeritus.”
However, in December the cancer continued to spread causing him to retire from the General Assembly completely. The Washington Post reported Miller told reporters during a virtual news conference from his home that “the cancer is in all my bones” and his body was “racked with pain.”
Ferguson noted stepping down as a senator was
difficult even in the midst of his devastating condition, but stated in his
release “the physical burden was too much to bear.”
Moments after news of Miller’s death was
announced on social media, condolences for the nation’s longest serving Senate
leader came pouring in.
“Maryland lost a giant and I have lost a dear
friend,” U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) tweeted. “Governors have come and
gone, but Mike Miller was a historic figure and force of nature pushing
Maryland forward. His legacy of results for our state is unmatched. Katherine and
I send our love to Patty and his family.”
Miller is survived by his wife, five children and numerous grandchildren.
“On this day of his passing,” Ferguson said. “Let it be known, Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. spent every single day of his life as a public servant working as hard as possible to ensure others had the ability and means to live a life with purpose, just as he did his.”
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The bad news keeps piling up for Donald J. Trump.
The outgoing one-term president, who has spent over 300 days golfing during his four year stint in Washington, D.C., might be losing his prized golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Chief assistant county attorney Howard Falcon tells The Palm Beach Post that at least one county commissioner is working to terminate the county’s lease with the Trump International Golf Club after the Capitol Riots last week.
“My initial reaction is it would be a stretch,” Falcon says, noting that the iron-clad lease doesn’t have a “bad boy” clause, which allows a landlord to severe ties with a tenant over bad behavior, like, say, inciting an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
The Trump Organization pays $88,338 per month to rent the property. A lawyer for the golf course says there’s “no basis for canceling the lease.” But the county commissioner still appears hellbent on trying.
The Palm Beach Post reports:
Trump International Golf Club is Trump’s go-to spot when he stays at Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach estate. He also hosts his annual Super Bowl parties at the course and has golfed at the club with foreign dignitaries, members of Congress and administration officials. He also played the course with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, and celebrities such as Kid Rock.
This is just the latest one of Trump’s business relationships to sour. He’s also been banned by all the major tech companies, dropped by Deutsche Bank, and lost his contract with the PGA, which just announced it will no longer hold its namesake championship at any of his golf courses.
Graham Gremore is the Features Editor and a Staff Writer at Queerty. Follow him on Twitter @grahamgremore.
President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced on Thursday that Biden has named Jeff Marootian, one of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s openly gay cabinet members, as Special Assistant to the President for Climate and Science Agency Personnel.
Marootian, who currently serves as director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, was one of 14 appointees to the White House staff announced by the presidential transition team on Thursday who will advise the president on issues ranging from climate change, environmental quality, healthcare, veterans’ affairs, immigration, and racial justice among other issues.
“Delivering results to Americans grappling with the many challenges facing our country will require an experienced, innovative, and principled White House team,” Biden said in a statement. “The policy leaders announced today are accomplished public servants who are ready to build back better for this country immediately,” Biden said.
In a separate statement Vice President-elect Kamala Harris called the latest round of White House appointees “innovative thinkers and principled leaders,” and added, “I look forward to working with them to ensure that every American has a fair shot a pursuing their dreams.”
Marootian, a longtime advocate for LGBTQ equality, has served as director of the D.C. Department of Transportation since 2017. Since shortly after the November 2020 presidential election, he has served on the U.S. Department of Transportation Agency Review Team for the Biden presidential transition.
Prior to joining Bowser’s cabinet post in 2017, Marootian served in the administration of President Barack Obama as White House Liaison and later as Assistant Secretary for Administration at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
During the 2012 Obama-Biden re-election campaign Marootian served as Director of LGBTQ Outreach at the Democratic National Committee.
The announcement of his appointment says he would be working at the White House Presidential Personnel Office. A spokesperson for the Biden transition team could not immediately be reached to determine whether the Personnel Office is in the White House itself, the Old Executive Office Building, which is part of the White House complex, or at another location.
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