Maine lawmaker who flouted pandemic rules resigns after wife dies from COVID-19
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November 29 – An Aroostook County lawmaker and anti-masking advocate who was hit by COVID-19 this summer and whose wife died after contracting the virus has resigned from the Maine legislature.
State Representative Chris Johansen, R-Monticello, a strong opponent of restrictions linked to the pandemic, told House Speaker Ryan Fecteau in a letter dated November 19 that he needed to take care of his farm. He said his wife, Cindy, had taken care of the farm, allowing him to serve in Maine House.
“His dedication to the farm allowed me to devote the time I needed to the people of Aroostook County,” Johansen wrote. “With his passing, I don’t have that time anymore.”
Johansen had challenged a legislative rule requiring masks to be worn inside the State House to control the spread of COVID-19. He appeared without a mask in a video taken inside a State House office in January and was one of seven lawmakers who had a confrontation with Capitol Hill police in May when lawmakers entered the House. State House without mask.
Johansen and the other six lawmakers were removed from their committee duties for breaking the rule. Johansen and his wife had both shared posts on Facebook downplaying the pandemic and poking fun at the vaccines.
Johansen used his resignation letter to reiterate his opposition to rules designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, saying he had fought for his belief in “the principle that the government cannot tell you how to live your life” .
He also said he regretted resigning because “I think there is still a long way to go to reverse the expansion of state power that we have witnessed over the past two years” and said that ‘he felt he had been “a voice of opposition to the uncontrollable emergency powers in the hands of one.
Johansen fell ill with COVID-19 in July and his wife, Cindy, who also had asthma, posted on Facebook that she had contracted the virus. Johansen has never confirmed that she died from the virus, although a spokesperson for the Republican Party of Maine said COVID-19 was the cause of her death. Weeks after Cindy Johansen’s death, Chris Johansen attended a rally in Augusta against the state’s vaccination mandate for healthcare workers.
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