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Senator's jokes jab cohorts

August 03, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

Senator's jokes jab cohorts



A speech by the president of the Maryland Senate on Thursday was short on policy statements and long on quips that targeted area lawmakers.

Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller started his address to the Quad-State Legislative Conference with a story about conference host Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington.

During an economic slump, Miller, a Democrat, needed Munson's vote on a controversial tax increase.

He was assured that Munson would support the tax increase if the legislature repealed a tax on carpet installers.

It wasn't easy, but Miller brokered a deal to eliminate that tax at a cost to the state of $2 million a year.

But when the tax increase was passed, Miller looked up at the electronic voting board in the Senate chamber and noticed that Munson had voted no.

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"He couldn't do it. It cost the state $2 million that year and every year after," Miller said, as the audience, including Munson, laughed.

Miller ribbed his own hometown of Clinton, Md., which had invited Bill Clinton to celebrate his nomination to the presidency in 1992.

When Clinton's aides came to scout a location for the media event, Miller suggested in front of his local liquor store.

That didn't fly so he proposed the Clinton Fire Department, which happened to be right in front of the liquor store. But Clinton's scouts heard a noise in the back, which turned out to be a roulette wheel, he said.

The last place Miller suggested was a museum for Mary Eugenia Surratt.

"Who is that?" they asked. Surratt was hanged for conspiring in the assassination of President Lincoln.

"It helps to know your history," Miller said.

Miller said he loves history, especially of the Civil War, and has visited battlefields in the Quad-State area.

The one place he hasn't been is Chambersburg, Pa., which was burned by Confederate troops during the war.

"I didn't know they rebuilt it until I was talking to someone here," he joked.

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