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Maine lawmaker criticized for attending anti-vaccine rally resigns after wife's COVID-19 death

Chris Johansen and his wife both contracted COVID-19 over the summer, and his wife, who had asthma, died from the disease.
Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine — A state lawmaker who flouted mask requirements in the Maine State House and fought against pandemic restrictions has resigned from his seat because of his wife’s COVID-19 death. 

Republican Rep. Chris Johansen of Monticello told House Speaker Ryan Fecteau in a letter this month that he needs to tend to his family farm. 

His wife, he wrote, was dedicated to the farm, which freed him to serve in the Legislature. 

Johansen was one of seven lawmakers stripped of committee assignments for refusing to wear masks in the State House after leaders required them. 

Both he and his wife, Cindy, contracted COVID-19 over the summer, and Cindy, who had asthma, died from the disease.

A reporter for the alternative news publication Mainer tweeted a photo of Johansen at an Aug. 17 Republican-led rally opposing Gov. Mills' new vaccine mandate for health care workers.

After receiving fierce criticism on social media for attending the rally, Johansen wrote that his wife was "reluctant" to get the vaccine because of what he called "conflicting information."

"To the haters out there have none of you seen my picture at the capital on Jan. 6th," he wrote. "You are a pretty tame bunch, I was sure you could hate me for many more reasons if you really knew me. so check the video, if you know what your looking for I'm not hard to find."

Cindy Johansen was an officer for the Aroostook County Republican committee.

In one of her last Facebook posts on July 21, she wrote, "It's absolutely horrible to be alone."

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