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Leadership honor goes to Maryland senate president.

The first William M. Bulger Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award goes to Maryland's longest serving Senate president, Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. A gala black tie dinner in his honor is slated for April 24 at the University of Maryland in College Park.

The award was established to honor William M. Bulger who served as president of the Massachusetts State Senate for 18 years and is now president of the University of Massachusetts. It will be bestowed every two years on a state legislative leader who has worked to preserve and build public trust in the legislative institution and can be cited for his or her leadership, courage and ethics.

Senator Miller is noted for his ability to avoid partisan disputes and gridlock in his chamber and to keep his ever-changing membership in harmony. He was, in fact, nominated by a Republican colleague.

The Senate president is a consensus builder and statesman who encourages others to adopt a statewide perspective. Under his leadership, Maryland withstood a deep economic recession without losing its coveted Triple A bond rating. The long-time Senate president (now in his 12th year) led efforts to increase taxes in difficult economic times, reduce business taxes and, for the first time in 30 years, reduce the state's personal income tax. During Miller's tenure, Maryland reformed its higher education system, enacted progressive and well-balanced environmental policies, adopted meaningful campaign finance reform and reduced growth in the state bureaucracy. He also is known for his work in the victims' rights movement.

The William M. Bulger leadership honor includes $10,000 to be given to the recipient's charity of choice. Senator Miller asked that his award be used to establish a University of Maryland scholarship in honor of Senate Minority Leader Jack Cade who died unexpectedly last year. Though they were on opposite sides of the aisle, Senator Miller had high regard for the integrity and political astuteness of Senator Cade. The scholarship fund will be used for needy students who choose to pursue careers in public service.

Legislative leaders and friends from across the country who would like to attend Senator Miller's award dinner should contact Stephen G. Lakis at the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, 16 Bayberry square, 1645 Falmouth Road, Centerville, Mass. 02632. (508) 771-3821.

The next William M. Bulger award will be made in 1999. To be eligible, nominees must hold (or have held in the last two years) the position of senate president, president pro tem, speaker, speaker pro tem, majority or minority leader.
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Publication:State Legislatures
Date:Mar 1, 1998
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