In the middle of a gubernatorial campaign, Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) announced that he’s gay in an op-ed published in two newspapers Monday.
Michaud talked about his sexuality in the Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald after opponents began insinuating that he was gay, after he received an early lead in the polls.
“I wasn’t surprised to learn about the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls some of the people opposed to my candidacy have been using to raise questions about my personal life,” Michaud wrote. “They want people to question whether I am gay.”
“Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: ‘Yes, I am. But why should it matter?’”
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“That may seem like a big announcement to some people,” he continued. “For me, it’s just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation millworker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine.”
Michaud, 58, spent 29 years working at Great Northern Paper Co. and has served in elected office since 1980.
“And if seeing someone from my background, in my position, openly acknowledge the fact that he’s gay makes it a little bit easier for future generations to live their lives openly and without fear, all the better,” Michaud wrote.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.) lauded the announcement via Twitter, calling Michaud the seventh openly gay Representative in the House.
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Michaud’s Republican opponent Gov. Paul LePage is considered one of the most vulnerable governors in the country, according to the Washington Post.
Michaud is currently running about even against LePage, according to a recent poll.