Joseph E. Brennan Passes Away at 89

( – On April 5, former two-term Democratic congressman and two-term Maine governor Joseph E. Brennan, 89, died with his wife by his side at his home in Portland.

According to his friend, Frank O’Hara, Brennan died in his home, which was just a few blocks from where he grew up.

Born to Irish immigrants Catherine Josephine Mulkern and John Joseph Brennan in 1934, Brennan served in the U.S. Army after graduating from Cheverus High School. Under the GI Bill, he graduated from Boston College, followed by the University of Maine Law School.

In 1964, at 29 years old, Brennan was elected to his first of three terms in Maine’s House of Representatives. In 1970, he was elected as the Cumberland County District Attorney before being elected to the Maine State Senate in 1972. In 1975, he was elected Maine’s attorney general and won his first term as Maine’s governor in 1978. After two terms as governor of Maine, in 1986, he was elected as the representative for Maine’s 1st Congressional District, where he served for two terms until 1990. In 1999, he was nominated to the Federal Maritime Commission, serving under former President Bill Clinton, former President George W. Bush, and former President Barack Obama.

Former Maine Gov. Joe Baladacci said Brennan was “a friend, a mentor and a dedicated servant.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills, who Brennan appointed Millis as Maine’s first female district attorney in 1980, said Brennan showed her that public service is “about enriching the lives of others” and not enriching yourself. She added that his philosophy was summed up by his slogan, “Everyone counts.”

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell called Brennan “a superb leader,” adding that Maine “lost a great man.”

Sen. Angus King said that nobody “knew Maine or Maine politics any better” than Brennan.

Brennan is survived by his wife, Connie, and his two children, Tara and J.B.

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