Cumberland state rep vows cancer battle won’t slow him down

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CUMBERLAND — Dale Denno’s lung cancer diagnosis and upcoming treatments won’t hinder his ability to represent his constituents in Augusta, the House District 45 representative said in a statement Tuesday.

Elected in 2016 and running again this fall, the Cumberland Democrat wrote, “I believe that it is my ethical responsibility to be transparent in every possible way as the voters make their decisions, and I consider the voters to have the right to information relating to a candidate’s health.”

House District 45 covers Cumberland and a southern section of Gray.

Denno said his oncologist is optimistic about his prospects, and “believes that my otherwise clear lungs and overall good health are in my favor.”

The state representative begins treatment next week. He noted that many of his constituents or their family members have fought cancer and the battle ahead will be a tough one.

“But I will be doing everything I can to fight this awful disease,” Denno said.

While undergoing treatment he will continue knocking on doors, erecting signs and engaging with voters whenever possible, he pledged.

“I believe that the issues facing Maine are serious, and I want to be part of their solution,” Denno added. “My passion for public service is undiminished, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent my community in Augusta. If elected in November, I promise I will work hard to stand up for the principles that have always guided me.”

He thanked the work of his campaign volunteers and said the encouragement of his constituents “means the world” to him.

“I consider myself a lucky man to live in this supportive community, and in this beautiful state,” Denno added.

Cumberland Town Councilor Tom Gruber, who’s worked closely with Denno in the Aging in Place program, spoke Tuesday of his friend’s “very positive attitude.”

“He is a true Cumberland resident,” Gruber added. “He really cares about this community, and he really, really cares about his House of Representatives seat.”

When Gruber asked Denno why is running again, considering the circumstances, the legislator replied that it was important that he continue the work people asked him to do when they elected him, the councilor recalled.

“He’s just so committed to it,” Gruber said. “It’s just amazing.”

The Main Street resident retired in 2013 from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, where he was director of the Office for Family Independence and worked directly with the Legislature for more than two years.

Denno has also been chairman of Cumberland’s Aging in Place Committee and an adjunct professor of business law at Saint Joseph’s College. He has volunteered at Preble Street in Portland and the Cumberland Food Pantry.

He serves on the Health and Human Services Committee, and has a wife, two children and two grandchildren.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Denno

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As Representative for District 45, I want to share some unfortunate news: I have been diagnosed with lung cancer. I believe that it is my ethical responsibility to be transparent in every possible way as the voters make their decisions, and I consider the voters to have the right to information relating to a candidate’s health.

Fortunately, I’m working with a wonderful oncologist, who believes that my otherwise clear lungs and overall good health are in my favor. I begin treatment next week, and I am optimistic that I will respond well. Many of you have experienced cancer in your own life or your family’s, and you know this is always a tough battle. But I will be doing everything I can to fight this awful disease.

During the period of treatment, I will continue to knock on doors, put up signs, and engage with the voters whenever I can. I believe that the issues facing Maine are serious, and I want to be part of their solution. My passion for public service is undiminished, and I am grateful for the opportunity to represent my community in Augusta. If elected in November, I promise I will work hard to stand up for the principles that have always guided me.

To all of you who are volunteering your time and talents to my campaign, I can never thank you enough. And to all of you who greet me at your doors with warmth and hospitality, your encouragement means the world to me. I consider myself a lucky man to live in this supportive community, and in this beautiful state.

Rep. Dale Denno, District 45 (Cumberland and part of Gray)

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.