AUGUSTA — The House of Representatives canceled Tuesday’s session after a Portland legislator required emergency medical attention.

Rep. Michael Brennan, D-PortlandJohn Ewing/Staff Photographer

Lawmakers were making their way into the House chamber when Rep. Michael Brennan, D-Portland, had an apparent medical issue. A fellow House member who is a doctor helped until Augusta paramedics arrived, according to several lawmakers. Members gathered in the lobby while medical treatment was being provided.

Brennan, who was taken to a local hospital, released a written statement Tuesday afternoon:

“This morning, I had a medical event in the House Chamber. My heartfelt thanks goes to the swift action of my colleagues, especially Dr. Sam Zager and Dr. Jane Pringle, and for the exceptional care I received from the first responders at the State House and the staff at Maine General Hospital. Both my wife Joan and I are profoundly grateful to everyone who has reached out and I look forward to resuming my full responsibilities in the State House in the next few days.”

House Democrats quickly cleared the chamber and canceled the session, although committee meetings continued as planned Tuesday afternoon.

“We are grateful for the swift response from our medical providers, first responders and the chamber staff,” House Democratic spokesperson Mary-Erin Casale said in an email to the Press Herald.


Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, said Brennan told him Tuesday afternoon that he expected to be released from MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta at some point Tuesday. Chipman said Brennan expects to make a full recovery and that he did not suffer any kind of heart-related incident, as some feared when he collapsed walking into the chamber.

“He’s going to be O.K.,” Chipman said. “Everyone was concerned. He’s such an amazing individual. He’s done so much good work for the state and city of Portland. His heart’s always in the right place, and he’s a good friend as well. I was glad to be able to reach him and talk with him. I’m glad that he’s doing better.”

The Senate held a moment of respectful silence for Brennan, who was receiving medical treatment as the upper chamber began its session.

“Please hold a moment of silence and respect for Rep. Brennan,” said Rev. Holly Morrison, who was scheduled to give the opening prayer.

Paramedics hung up a white sheet so people gathered in the lobby could not see down the hallway leading to the House floor.

“The Republicans met and prayed for Rep. Brennan,” Assistant House Minority Leader Amy Arata said Tuesday morning after the session was canceled.

Brennan, a licensed clinical social worker, is serving his 10th term as a legislator, including seven terms in the House and three in the Senate. He currently serves as the House chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee. He served as Senate majority leader in the 122nd Legislature from 2005 to 2006.

Brennan was Portland’s first popularly elected mayor in about nine decades, serving from 2011 to 2015 after being elected in the city’s first election using ranked-choice voting.

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