It’s hardly a secret in Annapolis that the relationship between the two presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly has had some rough patches.
Wednesday morning was not one of those.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) was summoned to the Senate chamber, where he found his mother and wife, among other family members, seated on the floor as guests of the senators.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) then presented Busch with a First Citizen Award, an honor bestowed annually by the Senate on those who “have been dedicated and effective participants in the process of making government work for the benefit of all.”
Miller noted Busch’s new status as Maryland’s longest-serving Speaker and praised his “brilliance” as a leader.
“This is history being made,” Miller told the chamber.
Busch acknowledged his “complete shock” at the honor and gave a brief but gracious acceptance speech, in which he said he had received “an award I treasure.”
Over the past two decades, First Citizen recipients have included several veteran senators, as well as people who have distinguished themselves outside the General Assembly.
Honorees have included former Washington Post executive editor Benjamin C. Bradlee; former Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran; and Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Also receiving awards Wednesday were Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) and Joy R. Walker, Miller’s long-serving office manager, whom he described as “a rock star.”
“She’s fair to everybody, which is very important,” Miller said.