April 10, 2019
On Sunday, April 7, House Speaker Michael E. Busch died at the age of 72 from pneumonia. His passing hung heavy on Sine Die – April 8, the last day of the 2019 Session of the Maryland General Assembly.
Known as “Coach” by his colleagues in the House, Speaker Busch was the longest serving Speaker in the history of the State. Tina Bjarekull, President of MICUA, described Speaker Busch as “a titan in Maryland politics. He was a prolific lawmaker and consensus builder. Through his 30 years of public service, he championed hundreds of bills leaving an indelible impact on the lives of millions.”
J. Elizabeth Garraway, President Emerita of MICUA, aptly described his legacy, “He was the consummate public servant, dedicated to helping people and initiating critical public policies to advance education, the environment, human rights, social justice, healthcare, and other quality of life issues. He leaves an exceptional and honorable legacy.”
Speaker Busch was the recipient of the 2018 MICUA Presidents’ Award in recognition of his commitment to independent higher education. More than 150 students and campus leaders gathered to present the award. Roger Casey, President of McDaniel College and Chair of the MICUA Board, thanked Speaker Busch for his impactful contributions to college access, student success, and the advancement of knowledge. “Maryland is stronger, healthier, safer, and more prosperous, because [he] cared.”
For more than three decades, Speaker Busch represented District 30 in Annapolis, home to St. John’s College. Christopher Nelson, President Emeritus of St. John’s College, wrote of the Speaker’s passion for community. “Mike has been praised as a man of the people, and it is easy to see why. He worked for the good of the State and his local constituents not only out of duty and pride, but out of love as well. This made him a friend to all, a man with political opponents but no enemies, and a man who cared more about promoting the public good than his own personal agenda.”
“I saw in Mike a deep intelligence that seems to have gone unmentioned in the public comments of the last few days,” Nelson wrote of Speaker Busch. “He required very little explanation to understand proposals and requests, and he remembered everything. I was a bit awe-struck that he could do this on a large scale. I will miss him in his public life and in our quiet friendship.” Speaker Busch is survived by his wife, Cindy, and their two daughters, Erin and Megan.