A Maine Republican who fought COVID-19 restrictions and lost his wife to the disease has resigned

A Maine Republican who fought COVID-19 restrictions and lost his wife to the disease has resigned

In Maine, there has been considerable tension between Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and Rep. Chris Johansen, a Republican, during the COVID-19 pandemic — and Johansen bitterly fought against the social distancing measures that Mills ordered. But Johansen, according to Maine Public Radio’s website, has resigned from the Maine House of Representatives.

Johansen became the face of coronavirus denial in the Maine House of Representatives, organizing a protest against Mills’ social distancing measures. In August, his wife, Cindy Johansen — an anti-vaxxer — died from COVID-19.

Maine Public Radio’s Steve Mistler reports, “Rep. Chris Johansen's resignation was effective November 19, according to a letter he sent to Democratic House Speaker Ryan Fecteau that same day. Johansen kept a relatively low profile during his three terms until the onset of the pandemic, when he made several headlines for leading the first demonstrations against the governor's pandemic restrictions in 2020 and for his involvement in fights against mask-wearing requirements for lawmakers enacted by Democratic leaders earlier this year.”

Mistler reports that Johansen “said his wife's dedication to the family farm allowed him to serve in the (Maine State) Legislature and that he no longer has the time to manage both duties. He said the decision was difficult because of the ongoing fight against what he described as the expansion of state power during the pandemic.”

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