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- The Forecaster
CUMBERLAND — Eight months after he announced he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer, and three weeks after he resigned from the Legislature, former state Rep. Dale Denno died Tuesday night.
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, announced Denno’s death Wednesday morning. The House District 45 Democrat had vowed last summer to fight the disease as he ran for, and won, a second term in Augusta.
“He continued to work as hard for his constituents as he was able to, and when he felt he couldn’t do that to his own satisfaction, he chose to focus solely on his health and family,” Gideon said. “It was extremely difficult to say goodbye to him, but we are so grateful he made that decision and that he was surrounded by those he loved and who loved him most during these days.”
Denno on March 26 announced his resignation from the House, saying it was “no longer realistic for me to continue in my current role as state representative, and I want only the best representation for the people.”
A special election to fill his seat is scheduled for June 11.
First elected in 2016, the Cumberland-Gray representative had no plans to slow down after his diagnosis and start of treatment. He said he “strong energy and good spirits.”
Last month, he called being a state representative one of the greatest honors of his life.
“I will always be grateful to my friends and colleagues in the Legislature, and especially the folks in Cumberland and Gray, for placing their confidence in me and offering me nothing but best wishes in good times and bad,” Denno said.
Gov. Janet Mills paid tribute to Denno in a statement Tuesday.
“He served his constituents with honor and distinction, fighting every day in the State House to improve their lives and build a better, brighter future for our state,” Mills said. “While we have lost a cherished friend, we undoubtedly are better off because of Dale’s dedicated service, and we remain forever grateful for his contributions to our state.”