Throughout my years of leadership in the Senate, I have had the privilege of leading the State Senate and our state through times of plenty and economic downturns. From my position, I have had the ability to focus strongly on the needs of my constituents and our priorities in District 27. From education growth, to protecting our environment and Chesapeake Bay, to helping more people receive healthcare coverage, and creating greater outlets and resources for small businesses, I am proud to stand up for the needs of my constituents. I will always fight to make sure we deliver for Southern Maryland, and protect our state from the damaging agenda of the Federal Government.
Senator Miller comes from a family of educators. His mother was a teacher, his sisters taught in our public schools, and his daughter works in the Anne Arundel County public school system. He knows firsthand the importance of good teachers, and the impact of a good public education. Under Senator Miller’s leadership, the State has made K – 12 public education its top priority.
Last year the State spent over $6.4 billion on our public schools. Coupled with the hard work of students, parents, teachers and administrators, our investments led to Maryland’s public schools being recognized as the best in the nation for five successive years from 2009-2013.
In 2002, he fought to enact the landmark “Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act”, often referred to as the Thornton Act. This spurred the State’s record investment in public schools, which has helped improve student test scores, close the achievement gap, and provide generous pay raises for teachers. Senator Miller supported legislation in 2017 that limits the amount of time that students and teachers must spend preparing for standardized tests, allowing teachers more time to teach their students. Senator Miller knows that children that enter a learning environment earlier in life have better educational outcomes, which is why he supports universal pre-kindergarten for all of Maryland’s children, and was a strong supporter of legislation in the 2018 Legislation Session to provide for a degree without debt – tuition free community college to all Maryland High School graduates.
In 2017, under Senator Miller’s leadership, the state began a new process to ensure that our state is meeting our Constitutional obligation to an adequate education. Senator Miller appointed former University of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan to lead this charge, and Senator Miller has supported the interim recommendations of the Kirwan Commission thus far. He looks forward to the work ahead to increase school funding to ensure we have the best teachers providing our students with the best education in the best environment.
With more money flowing into the state through casinos, Senator Miller recognizes that we must do more to ensure that funds that enter the Education Trust Fund are used to enhance education funding. To this end, he voted for a state Constitutional Amendment to ensure that money that comes into the state goes directly to education funding.
The 27th District’s past, present and future are tied to its natural bounty. Our district touches the Potomac River on the west, the Chesapeake Bay on the east, and is divided down the middle by the Patuxent River. Senator Miller believes we will be judged by the next generation in large part based on our stewardship of our natural resources, which is why he has been an aggressive advocate for legislation to protect our environment.
While the federal government under President Trump has stepped back from its commitments to help protect our environment, Maryland has taken steps to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, including banning phosphorus and nitrogen runoff, banning fracking, and entering the US Climate Alliance.
Senator Miller has supported bold actions to improve air quality for all Marylanders. He voted for the Maryland Clean Cars Act, which requires stricter emissions limits on automobiles sold in Maryland. He also voted to reduce Maryland greenhouse gas emissions by supporting legislation which sets a goal of a 40% reduction in emissions by the year 2030. Senator Miller supported legislation to require that 25% of Maryland’s energy production come from renewable resources such as wind and solar, and has supported offshore wind and fought any attempts to weaken these laws. These strong steps ensure Maryland’s government is doing its part to protect our environment for generations to come.
Senator Miller is a product of our public university system. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland, and his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. No one in the Maryland General Assembly has promoted the interests of our public universities and their students the way Senator Miller has during his distinguished career.
Senator Miller supported a four-year freeze in tuition at our public universities to ensure the doors of higher education remain open to students from working families. Moreover, he helped families plan for college, supporting the creation of the Maryland Higher Education Investment Plans, which allow families tax advantages with a prepaid tuition plan or a higher education savings plan. He also ensured a $2,500 State tax deduction for contributions to the investment plans.
Community colleges play an increasingly important role in our higher education system, both in preparing students to attend four-year institutions, and in helping workers develop new skills to find work in this economy. Senator Miller has worked to enhance the State’s community college funding formula, increasing funding to community colleges, and this year supporting a degree without debt.
Senator Miller understands that not everybody desires or needs to attend College or Community College to plan for a successful career. It’s why he’s been a strong supporter of vocational training, and has been a leader in increasing funding to programs such as the growing HVAC program at the College of Southern Maryland.
Senator Miller has spent his life helping to protect other people. As the oldest of ten children, he was always responsible for looking out for his younger siblings. As the father of five and grandfather of fourteen, he continues to be work to keep our streets safe for our families. He has been a vigilant defender of victim’s rights; supporting efforts to crack down on child abuse, possession of child pornography, and drunk driving.
Senator Miller believes protecting our children from predators should be a top priority for Maryland’s law enforcement community. That’s why he voted to create Maryland’s sex offender registry, an online tool that allows anyone to find out if they have a sexual predator living in their community. He also championed “Jessica’s Law,” which requires mandatory minimum prison sentences for sex offenders who prey on children. Knowing that crime has changed with the advent of technology, he supported increased penalties for cyberbulling and online crimes.
Recognizing that seniors face unique challenges, Senator Miller supported efforts to protect at-risk seniors. He voted for tough measures to protect seniors against financial scams. He also supported the creation of a Silver Alert program. Like the Amber Alert, which issues a public warning when a child goes missing, the Silver Alert program is designed to get information out to the public when a vulnerable senior goes missing.
Senator Miller has worked to make our criminal justice system more just for all Marylanders. In 2014, he voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In 2016 he led the fight for the Justice Reinvestment Act, which updated sentencing guidelines in Maryland with the goal of stemming the tide on mass incarceration – including reduced mandatory minimum sentences for minor crimes, and treatment instead of incarceration for those addicted.
Perhaps no issue is affecting our families more on a daily basis than healthcare. From concerns on the rising costs of healthcare, to the ongoing opioid epidemic, Senator Miller is focused on these issues. When the federal government voted to destabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Senator Miller convened a meeting with Governor Hogan and Speaker Busch to come to a commonsense compromise to stabilize the industry in Maryland. Working in a bipartisan manner, they were able to ensure that costs would be lowered for Marylanders in 2018.
Senator Miller understands the impact the heroin and opioid epidemic has an our communities. In 2017, Senator Miller led the charge to pass landmark legislation which the American Medical Association called “among the most comprehensive bills in state legislatures”. This bipartisan package increased treatment for those who need it, increased funding for evidence-based tools such as drug courts, and increased penalties on those bringing drugs such as Fentynal into our community.
Elections & Transparency
Senator Miller believes that every Maryland citizen deserves the right to vote with the ease and convenience necessary to increase turnout in elections, while still promoting confidence in the security of our elections. He has been a strong supporter of early voting, and expanding the franchise to more Marylanders. This year alone, he supported a process of secure Automatic Voter Registration, and starting the process to allow Marylanders to vote on election day.
Senator Miller knows that without confidence in government, government cannot accomplish its work on behalf of our citizens. In 2017, Senator Miller joined with Governor Hogan, Speaker Busch, and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass the strongest ethics reforms in a generation through the Legislature. In addition, he has supported strengthened campaign finance laws, and increased Open Meetings legislation to ensure that all Marylanders can access a government that is accessible and transparent.