Rep. Paul McGowan of York died unexpectedly at his home on Sunday. He was 67.

McGowan was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2012 to represent Ogunquit and parts of Kittery, Wells and York. The Democrat announced this month that he would not seek re-election in November because of an undiagnosed medical condition that was causing him increasing mobility problems, according to He was walking with a cane and had trouble driving at the time.

No information about the cause of McGowan’s death was immediately available. A statement from Democratic leaders said the family requested privacy and will announce funeral details in the coming days.

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague Rep. Paul McGowan,” House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick said in a written statement Monday. “For those of us who had the honor to serve with Paul, he will be remembered for his unwavering passion and conviction. … His advocacy on behalf of cancer prevention and health care truly made a difference in our state.”

McGowan was best known for legislation directing state government to look at the factors behind Maine’s relatively high cancer rate and find ways to prevent the suffering caused by the disease. The legislation was inspired by a conversation he had with a man whose 4-year-old grandson had recently been diagnosed with cancer, according to Democratic colleagues. The man asked McGowan for information about the state’s cancer rate. McGowan, who lost his wife and a number of friends to cancer, learned that Maine has a higher rate of cancer than most U.S. states.

He served on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.


“Paul was tireless in his advocacy on behalf of Mainers who need access to affordable health care and the future generations that rely on us to protect the environment,” Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, praised McGowan in a written statement, saying he had gotten to know the state legislator during McGowan’s time in the state house.

“He was a strong leader who cared deeply about his family, his community and this state. He was a passionate advocate for increased access to health care and his commitment to that has left Maine a better place,” Michaud said.

McGowan was a leadership and organization development consultant, according to the Maine House Democrats web page. He was the founder of the Leadership and Learning Center, which provided leadership development consulting for people in public education, non-profits, businesses and health care. He also served as an officer in the US Air Force.

He was a member of the York Town Energy Committee, the York Energy Efficiency Committee and the Cape Neddick River Association.

McGowan, who lived in the Cape Neddick section of York, is survived by his two children and four grandchildren.

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