'I Have Been Blessed' | Amid Cancer Battle, Senate President Mike Miller Reflects On Time In Maryland State House
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- Thirty-two years, thousands of pieces of legislation: Mike Miller has been a fixture in the Maryland State House since becoming Senate president in 1987.
Born in Clinton, Maryland, the 77-year-old Democrat began serving in the Senate in 1975.
Now, health challenges are forcing him to step down and focus on family, friends and life.
- Maryland's Longtime Senate President Mike Miller To Step Down
- Md. Senate President Mike Miller's Health Following Cancer Diagnosis 'Largely Good'
- Maryland State Senate President Mike Miller Has Prostate Cancer
The Maryland State House is where Miller belongs. It is home, and it is where he works 16-hour days, sometimes seven days a week. He gets a special feeling every time he walks through the door.
Miller sat down with WJZ anchor Vic Carter as his time as president comes to an end.
Vic Carter: How old were you the first time you came into this building?
Senate President Mike Miller: I was 18. I was the driver for the Republican candidate for governor. That's how I got to know Larry Hogan, he was five years old. I had to babysit him a couple of times.
Carter: Do you remind him of that every now and then?
Miller: I do. I do. I was the driver and his father was the PR guy on the campaign. So we would make a campaign stop and they would get out and leave... Larry Hogan and me...
But now this powerful man has physically been weakened by a cruel disease: prostate cancer. Even through it all, his mind is not on himself, but on the people of Maryland.
Carter: What kept you going all 32 years?
Miller: My sense of history. Also prayer. I am a very prayerful person. I just came from a meeting with a lay minister. God has a plan for all of us. Before I stepped down, I consulted with God, and God directed me to make this transition as smooth as possible, and also what is best for the people of the State of Maryland.
His hands tell the story, bruised by crucial life-saving medical tests, but the power is fading. Miller is coming to terms with mortality.
Miller: God worked with me through my health. I have cancer. I have four-stage cancer that has metastasized me to the bone and it's shortened my life span. It's giving me a chance to focus on my wife and my family, my grandchildren. It forces you to concentrate on the things that are important as you prepare for the afterworld.
Carter: You're preparing for the afterworld?
Miller: I am. I am.
Carter: Is that tough?
Miller: I think about it. I want to be sure that my legacy is something people remember as, not flamboyant, but someone who did his job, and did his job as the best as he could.
Carter: Do you hurt inside that this is happening right now?
Miller: Not at all. Not at all. I feel joyous. I feel joy. I feel kinda relieved. I go to church and I pray and I thank God for all the blessings that he has bestowed upon myself and my family and the State of Maryland.
Carter: Former President Jimmy Carter talked about his life...
Miller: I am the same way. I don't ask for healing because I think it's selfish quite frankly. I just thank God for his graces, and I thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me already. Whatever he decides, that's what we are going to live with. That's what we are going to accomplish. I feel it would be selfish to ask for anything more than what I have already received because I have been blessed. Abundantly, over and over again.
Carter: What have you learned about yourself through this entire process?
Miller: You should always look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate yourself. What I have learned is that I do better when I depend upon God. When I see God's help, I do better. It gives me comfort to think that God is directing me into this path, so it's not Mike Miller making a decision. There is a savior out there who is saying this is what's best for you and this is what's best for the people of Maryland.
Miller said he still has a lot of gas in the tank and plans to continue to work. In fact, he has picked out his seat in the back of the Senate Chamber where he will continue to serve until he can serve no more.
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