Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud has become the seventh openly LGBT member of the United States Congress. The House Democrat made the announcement in an OpEd piece running in the Portland Press Herald. Michaud is running for Governor of Maine and leading in the polls. Rumors of his sexuality have been spread by his opponents.
If elected Governor, he would be the first openly LGBT person elected Governor in history. Governor James McGreevey served as Governor after coming out but resigned his office.
The Portland Press Herald reports:
Michaud, 57, currently serving his sixth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, made the disclosure in a column submitted to three of the state’s major news outlets, including the Portland Press Herald. He said he was making the announcement in response to “the whisper campaigns, insinuations and push polls” that unidentified people have been using to raise questions about his personal life since he declared his candidacy.
“They want people to question whether I am gay,” Michaud said. “Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: ‘Yes I am. But why should it matter?’ ”
Michaud was virtually handpicked and recruited by the Maine Democratic Party. His candidacy has already garnered attention from national media and from political organizations that will work and pay to get him elected.
He also leaves a relatively safe congressional seat for a gubernatorial bid that is nothing if not uncertain. Recent polls show him with a narrow edge over LePage. Cutler, defeated by the governor by less than two percentage points in 2010, has trailed in third, but his campaign believes he can close the gap.
The rumors about Michaud’s sexual orientation have followed the former mill worker throughout his 33-year political career, but have never been reported. He was first elected to the state Legislature in 1980. Hailing from a Franco-American Catholic family, the Medway native never addressed – and rarely faced –direct questions about his sexuality. It was never publicly made an issue by his opponents during mostly comfortable victories in the 2nd Congressional District.
“I write this now merely to let my opponents and the outside interests who fund them know that I am not ashamed of who I am,” he wrote. “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.”