ANNAPOLIS – When the Maryland General Assembly convened for the 2000 session last month, many in the Statehouse noticed something more fiery about Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. – his head.
Miller’s curly locks had gone from sandy-blonde and gray streaked to auburn red.
The color change has been the talk of the Statehouse for weeks. But Miller, D-Prince George’s, is mum.
“It’s your imagination,” is all he would say to the hair query.
Miller, arguably the most powerful man in the Legislature, is very sensitive about the subject, said a Senate staffer, who, understandably, did not want to be named. The staffer said Miller might have changed his hair because it’s “the in thing.”
“He always had blonde hair. I don’t know why he went with the red unless it’s hip,” the staffer said. “He’s a trend setter.”
Miller’s new coif, said Sen. Leo Green, D-Prince George’s, “exemplifies his temper at times.”
Very few Capitol denizens were willing to discuss the president’s new ‘do- perhaps a testament to Miller’s power in the Senate. Others professed to be blind to the rufous ruff.
Miller is getting his share of jokes, though, the Senate aide said.
“He’s getting ribbed by everyone, it’s very affectionate though,” the aide said.
Some of the teasing is not exactly amiable – some, like Sen. Timothy Ferguson, R-Frederick, are mocking the president.
“We call him Sen. Cabbage Patch,” he said, referring to the scrunch-faced dolls popular in the 1980s.
So Ferguson doesn’t think Miller’s trendy?
“It’s trendy in his own mind,” he said. “The back benches are filled with disdain and mockery.”
Others stand by Miller’s mane change – whatever the reason.
“What you see is what you get. Mike’s not afraid to be himself. It’s refreshing,” said Senate Majority Whip Paula Hollinger, D-Baltimore County.
Ferguson said he heard Miller’s coloring was a mistake.
“He had a woman do his hair and she screwed up … that’s the rumor,” he said.
Employees of Jeanie’s Salon and Day Spa Inc. in Annapolis have another theory.
“I think it’s just a bad gray color-up,” said Sarah Butts, a hairdresser, after seeing Miller’s before and after pictures.
Jeanie Chaney, the salon’s owner, added that many customers have been making drastic changes to their appearance, something she attributes to the cold, dreary weather. Or perhaps the shade signals something deeper. “Maybe he wanted a different public opinion on what he looked like so he went bizarrely red,” Chaney said. “Maybe he wants to say `I’m open to change.'” -30- CNS-2-4-00