A Republican lawmaker from Maine who vigorously fought against COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates resigned from his post months after his wife died after contracting the virus — but defended his opposition to COVID-19 restrictions.
Rep. Chris Johansen stepped down from the Maine House of Representatives on November 19.
He submitted his resignation letter to Democratic House Speaker Ryan Fecteau that same day, calling his decision a “difficult” one.
Johansen said he was stepping down to spend more time with family and tend to the animals on the couple’s farm after his wife, Cindy, died from COVID-19 in August.
In his resignation letter, the lawmaker continued to rail against mask and vaccine mandates.
“The last two years have been about fighting for the principle that Government doesn’t get to tell you how to live your life,” Johansen wrote. “In that time I have lost my friend, my close ally, my wife.”
In his letter, Johansen said he believed there was “still much to be done to roll back the expansion of state power that we have witnessed these past two years.”
Johansen continued, “It has been my distinct honor to the People of Aroostook County in Augusta, especially during the COVID-19 health crisis, when I was put in a position to be a voice of opposition to uncontrolled emergency powers in the hands of one person.”