Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat from Maine, disclosed Monday that he is gay.
Michaud, who is running for governor, declared his sexual orientation in op-ed columns in the Portland Press Herald and Bangor Daily News, Maine's two largest newspapers. He did so to address what he called the "whisper campaigns" being waged by political opponents about his personal life.
"Allow me to save them the trouble with a simple, honest answer: Yes, I am. But why should it matter?," wrote Michaud, who is 58 and single. "That may seem like a big announcement to some people. For me, it's just a part of who I am, as much as being a third-generation millworker or a lifelong Mainer. One thing I do know is that it has nothing to do with my ability to lead the state of Maine."
Michaud becomes the seventh openly gay or bisexual member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., who is gay, congratulated Michaud for "coming out, living honestly" in a post on Twitter.
"My #gaydar missed it, but happy to welcome @RepMikeMichaud to team #lgbt," Polis tweeted.