July 30, 2015 at 9:15 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Gay former lawmaker nominated for Labor Dept. post
Mike Michaud, Maine, United States House of Representatives, Democratic Party, U.S. Congress, gay news, Washington Blade

Mike Michaud was nominated for a position in the Labor Department. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Retirement as a lawmaker and the loss of gubernatorial race isn’t keeping from public service a Maine politician who sought to be the first openly gay man elected as governor.

On Thursday, President Obama announced he nominated Michael Michaud as assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training. His nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Veterans’ Employment & Training seeks to direct Labor Department services to veterans at the policy-making level, including job training counseling and employment placement.

In 2014, Michaud was the Democratic nominee in the gubernatorial race in Maine and, had he won, would have been the first openly gay person elected as governor. (He wouldn’t have been the first openly gay governor. That distinction belongs to former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey, who came out as gay in 2004 shortly before resigning.)

Ultimately, Michaud lost in the three-way race along with Independent candidate Eliot Cutler to incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who’s been dubbed the craziest governor in the country.

Michaud ran for office during his final term as a six-term representative representing Maine’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House. The lawmaker came out as gay in 2013 shortly before he undertook his bid for the governor’s mansion in his state.

The nominee is no stranger to work on veterans’ affairs. In 2012, the House Democratic Caucus designated him to serve as ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Obama nominated Michaud to the position as part of a group of three nominees for key administration posts on the same day.

“These fine public servants bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their important roles,” Obama said. “I look forward to working with them.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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