Coming out has been positive for Michaud

PORTLAND — When the intensely private Rep. Mike Michaud laid bare his private life and announced he’s gay, one openly gay congressman joked that the Maine Democrat had never registered on his “gaydar.”

Associated Press

Rep. Mike Michaud

As he prepares to return to Capitol Hill this week as the seventh openly gay member of the U.S. House, Michaud said the decision to come out last week was a positive experience that drew support from fellow congressmen and hundreds of constituents — even if it was political nastiness that prompted his announcement.

“People know me as Mike. They know my issues are veteran issues, economic development, health care and jobs, and nothing is going to change,” he said.

Michaud, who’s engaged in a three-way race for governor, used an op-ed provided to two newspapers and The Associated Press to disclose he’s gay, saying he did so to address “whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls” that raised questions about his sexuality.

He said constituents have been supportive, with many finding his honesty refreshing.

Several members of Congress including Democratic Reps. Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island have reached out to show support, as well.

Among them was Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who works closely with Michaud, the committee’s ranking Democrat.

“Mike Michaud is my friend and colleague. He is a strong ally in advocating for veterans and his recent announcement does nothing to change that,” Miller said.

Before Michaud’s announcement, there were six openly gay members of the U.S. House. Michaud’s sexual orientation was as much a surprise to at least some of them as it was to Mainers.

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who is gay, tweeted in surprise after Michaud’s announcement that “My #gaydar missed it.” He also reached out to lend support.

“I conveyed to him that I felt it was great that he has this load off his shoulders and I know he’ll be an even more effective servant for the people of Maine,” he said.

Back in Maine, political observers said Michaud’s announcement likely won’t have a big impact on the governor’s race. Voters here approved gay marriage a year ago.

Michaud continued a regular schedule of public events after making his announcement. On Friday, the Maine Association of Police and the Professional Fire Fighters endorsed Michaud over Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the incumbent, and wealthy independent Eliot Cutler.

Michaud’s sexual orientation was never mentioned.

“Mike was the same person six years ago when I knew him,” said John Martell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maine. “He’s the same person today. It makes no difference whatsoever.”

Michaud, for his part, has never been one to discuss his personal life. He informed his mother that he was gay just hours before announcing it to the world.

He said he doesn’t have a partner and said his private life is “boring.”

“I don’t have a very exciting life, other than public work,” he said. When he’s not in Washington, Michaud is usually traveling the vast 2nd Congressional District to meet constituents.

Polis said he fully expects his colleague to dive back to work on Tuesday, when he’s due to return to Washington after attending Veterans Day events in Maine.

“It’s clear he doesn’t intend to make a big deal out of it,” Pollis said. “It’s done and he’s ready to get back to work.”

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Comments

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If Michaud is so "private",

If Michaud is so "private", why doesn't he know shut up? He is out, let's move on to issues facing Maine, not his personal life.

no one ever won an election

no one ever won an election by staying quiet, Mark.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

If you are implying that

If you are implying that Michaud is using his sexuality to garner votes, I agree. Let's see of LePage can turn this in his favor with pointing out the Michaud is only selling his sexuality to the voters, but is flaccid when it comes to providing solutions.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Political maneuver

For those claiming his coming out was just politics I think you are forgetting what prompted his announcement. It was the dirty tricks some "anonymous" party was already beginning. Does anybody think that would have lessened as the campaign went on had he not come out? The fact that he had not even mentioned it to his mother prior to this tells me he would not have mentioned it had someone else not made it an issue. That someone else should think carefully before slinging more dirt because that can go both ways. What should concern Maine voters is the state of our economy, our lack of jobs and health care and the lack of funding for our schools and our cities. The wedge issues should stay in Washington along with all the other scum.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Is there any doubt that the

Is there any doubt that the anonymous party was either George Bush or Paul LePage?

My money is on Michael Heath

My money is on Michael Heath and Paul Madore's new hophobic activist group. What's it called? "We STILL Hate Homos" or something?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Knowing Mr. Madore

Knowing Mr. Madore personally, I suspect he has more important work to do than waste his time on outing a gay politician. Heath? Who knows? Unless those who did it come out and admit it, all the rest of us can do is guess and speculate.Bottom line is, Mike Michaud is gay and I couldn't care less.

*homophobic

*homophobic

There's no lack of funding

There's no lack of funding for our schools. Maines unemployment is below national average. Obamacare the un-affordable care act, is a train wreck. Taxes are high enough,and we don't need a big liberal spender running Maine.

MARK GRAVEL's picture

Michaud can take Maine back

Michaud can take Maine back to its former greatness - big debts.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Kudos

Kudos

CAROLYN LIBBEY's picture

Mike, you had my vote prior

Mike, you had my vote prior to this and you've still got my vote!

THOMAS FALLON 's picture

Political...

I do not have a problem with Rep. Michaud's being gay, but I am sorry to say that I think his coming out at this particular time is a political maneuver.

Gays have been coming out for quite a while in America. They have been accepted with little negativity. I therefore think that Michaud has had many chances to come out before this. He should have if he had wanted to be up front with Maine voters. He didn't come out.

Now that the Maine's voters have approved gay marriage, I cannot help but think that he is seeking that voting bloc as any politician would in his situation. That is a good political move.

I'm sure his campaign cash

I'm sure his campaign cash flow has improved significantly.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Mike Michaud is gay; we get

Mike Michaud is gay; we get it. How could we not? The SJ has made mention of his coming out practically every day since he 'came out'. You're no longer announcing his being gay; you're promoting it. Enough already.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Coming out has been positive for Michaud

Mainers, Sunday night
Handsome guy , that Mike ?
Remember though , beauty is only skin deep
Ugly goes right to the bone , all you homophobes
/s, Steve ;)
~ Happy Veterans Day ~
Ask . We'll tell . ..

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