Today in Maine’s Franco History: January 18

Today in Maine’s Franco History is a look back at important dates in the history of Maine’s Franco-American communities. It will run throughout 2020, the bicentennial year of Maine’s statehood. Your suggestions for additional events, people, and institutions to celebrate are most welcome.

January 18, 1955: Birth of Michael “Mike” Herman Michaud in Millinocket . Michaud worked at the Great Northern Paper Company in East Millinocket for thirty years, including while he served as a legislator in the Maine House (1973-1994) and Senate (1994-2003).

In 2002, he became the first Franco-American from Maine to be elected to a federal office, when he became the representative for Maine’s second Congressional District. He served until 2015.

In 2014, Michaud ran unsuccessfully for governor against incumbent Paul LePage, marking the first election in which both major party candidates were Franco-American. He publicly came out as gay at the start of his gubernatorial run, making him the first openly gay man to run for governor in Maine.

Michaud currently serves as a selectman in East Millinocket.

James Myall

About James Myall

While I currently work for an Augusta-based non-profit, I spent four years as the Coordinator of the Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine. In 2015, I co-authored "The Franco-Americans of Lewiston-Auburn," a general history of that population from 1850 to the present. I was also a consultant for the State Legislative Task Force on Franco-Americans in 2012. I live in Topsham with my wife and two young daughters.