AUGUSTA  — Rep. Dale Denno of Cumberland announced Tuesday that he is resigning his seat in the Legislature as he battles cancer.

Denno, a Democrat who is serving his second term in the Maine House, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. Denno called serving in the Legislature one of the greatest honors of his life but announced “with sadness and gratitude” that he will step down from his seat effective Wednesday.

“Based upon initial medical advice, as well as strong energy and good spirits, I decided to continue representing the great people of Cumberland and Gray, and I am proud of my service to the wonderful friends and neighbors in those communities,” Denno said in a statement. “Yet over the past several weeks, it has become apparent that it is no longer realistic for me to continue in my current role as State Representative, and I want only the best representation for the people of House District 45.”

A special election will likely be held later this spring or summer after officials in one of the municipalities included within District 45 requests to fill the seat. Gov. Janet Mills will then officially declare the seat vacant and schedule the special election.

Former Rep. Steve Moriarty, a Cumberland Democrat, has already signaled his intention to run for the seat and was endorsed by Denno on Tuesday, according to the Maine House Democratic Campaign Committee.

House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, said Denno “will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues in the House of Representatives and in the State House.”

“I want to thank Dale for his incredible service to our state, both in the Legislature and at the Department of Health and Human Services,” Gideon said in a statement. “Maine is a better place because of Dale Denno and we are sincerely grateful for his service. We will be thinking about him and wishing him the very best as he continues his battle with cancer.”

Mills also wished Denno well and thanked him for his service.

“He has been a tireless champion for his constituents, fighting every day to improve their lives and advance policies that help people across the state,” Mills said in a statement. “His voice will be missed in the Legislature. I wish him and his family the best as he continues his valiant fight against cancer.”

 


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